AKHALKALAK (A-INFO)–The Council of the Armenian Non-Governmental Organizations of Samtskhe-Javakhk (the Council) condemned Armenian member of Georgia’s parliament Van Baiburdian–for his negative commen’s concerning the Council’s appeal to Georgia’s newly elected president Mikhail Saakashvili.
In a January 16 letter to President Saakashvili–the Council explained that Javakhk prides itself as being a part of the historic Armenian homeland–and views the future of the region in the development of a genuine democracy–within the context of a pluralist Georgia. They also outline the expectations of the region’s leadership and organizations–emphasizing Javakhk’s Armenian identity within the diversity of Georgia–its needs for autonomous self-government–and its desire to take part in the future nationwide debate that would reshape Georgia as a fair-minded modern democracy–able to engage the full potential of its multi-ethnic society.
Speaking to the Georgian Times–Baiburdian said that the Council’s calls reflect the opinion of a fraction of Javakhk’s Armenia’s–and that the majority did not seek autonomy.
The Council reacted–saying the appeal to the president comes from the heart of every Armenian–and the request for autonomous status is driven by the desire to see a developed Samtskhe-Javakhk and powerful Georgia.
A spokesman for the Council blasted Baiburdian–saying "It should be said that sitting in Tbilisi–Mr. Baiburdian is not fully aware what is actually going on in Samtskhe-Javakhk and what people want. Baiburdian’s unawareness comes to prove appeal that the Samtskhe-Javakheti region has been left out of the governing process of Georgia. The Georgian Times and other papers can come to the region and find out directly the people what their opinions are."