YEREVAN (A.W.)—Georgian President Mikhail Saakhasvhili has done nothing to mitigate the socio-economic crisis plaguing his country’s Armenian population in the region of Javakhk and does not deserve to be honored by Yerevan, said a leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) on Tuesday.
Saakashvili’s government has deliberately neglected the socioeconomic woes of Georgia’s Javakhk region and violated the rights of its predominantly Armenian population, explained Giro Manoyan, the ARF’s political affairs director.
From June 24-25, Georgian President Mikheil Saakhashvili visited Armenia for talks on where he was praised by President Serzh Sarkisian for ostensibly working to ease the socioeconomic hardships in Javakhk.
While Saakhashvili recently announced that there has been an increase in investments in Javakhk over the past few years, Manoyan noted that a large number of employees have come from other regions, despite the fact that population of Javakhk is in need of employment.
“Our main concern should be to convince the Georgian authorities that Javakhk should be the strongest bond of maintaining good neighboring relations between Armenia and Georgia,” said Manoyan. “However, today, this is the loosest bond.”
Sarkisian failed to stress this point and instead indicated his satisfaction with the current Georgian leadership by giving Saakashvili an Honor Medal, the highest Armenian state award set for foreign dignitaries.
The move troubled human rights activists in Armenia and the Diaspora, leading dozens of protesters to gather near the Armenia Marriott Hotel on June 25 to demonstrate against Saakhashvili’s policies towards Javakhk.
Yerevan police, however, pushed the protesters out of Republic Square and onto North Avenue. Many eyewitnesses reported seeing the protesters dragged away by police, who wanted to clear the entrance to the hotel where Saakhashvili was staying.
Manoyan, who was at the demonstration, said that the Georgian president had been careful not to meet with any of the protesters during his visit.