Dialogue aims to meet urgent need for job-creation in Armenian-populated region
WASHINGTON—An ongoing dialogue between the Armenian National Committee of America and the Georgian government—both in Tbilisi and via Georgia’s Ambassador in Washington—is exploring ways to expand the Georgian-Armenian partnership to include broader direct Georgian and Armenian investments and also increased U.S. assistance to promote job-creation in the Armenian-populated Samtskhe-Javakheti (Javakhk) region of Georgia.
“The Embassy of Georgia, in support of our government’s material commitment to economic development for our citizens in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and throughout all of our Republic, looks forward to working with our friends in the U.S. Congress and the Administration and with all American civil society stakeholders – including, of course, with the Armenian American community – in encouraging the targeting of U.S. assistance to meet Samtskhe-Javakheti’s urgent job-creation, infrastructure, technical, and humanitarian needs,” stated Georgia Ambassador to the U.S. Temuri Yakobashvili.
“We look forward, in cooperation with Ambassador Yakobashvili and Georgian government officials, to broadening the longstanding ties that have existed between the Georgian and Armenian peoples through greater Georgian government investment in the economic development of Samtskhe-Javakheti and by collectively supporting a robust U.S. aid package for Georgia that includes targeted assistance to this heavily Armenian populated region,” stated ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.
Last September, Hachikian traveled to Georgia to conduct a series of high-level meetings with Georgian authorities and Armenian community leaders in the organization’s efforts to call broader attention to the plight of the Armenian community in that country.
In a week-long trip to Georgia’s capital Tbilisi and Javakhk, Hachikian was joined by ANCA Communications Director Elizabeth Chouldjian in discussing the Armenian American community’s concerns about the socio-economic situation in the regions and efforts to maintain the Armenian culture and language of the community in the broader tapestry of Georgia’s cultural diversity.
Hachikian and Chouldjian met with Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, Cultural Minister Nikoloz Rurua, and representatives of the Ministries of Education, Justice, Regional Development and Infrastructure, Regional Integration and the National Security Council, which assisted in coordinating the meetings. They also discussed U.S. policy and assistance efforts in the region with U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Bass, outgoing USAID Country Director Jock Connelly and Millennium Challenge Corporation Resident Country Director Jim McNicholas. In Javakhk as in Tbilisi, the ANCA representatives spoke with a broad range of Armenian representatives of non-governmental organizations and the Armenian Church.
Following the trip to the region, the ANCA has worked closely with U.S. officials to explore U.S. assistance opportunities in Javakhk, including public-private partnerships, which would offer material incentives for broader international investment in the region.