Armenian MP about Samtskhe-Javakheti events:
violation of national minorities' rights leads to revolt

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Social and political situation in the Armenian-populated region of Georgia Samtskhe-Javakheti is extremely unstable. Use of brute force by the Georgian authorities lead to severe resistance of region's residents, as a REGNUM correspondent was told by Head of parliamentary faction of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutiun Levon Mkrtchyan .

Commenting on the incident of December 11 near the custom office at the border between Georgia and Armenia, Levon Mkrtchan noted that the Georgian side was accountable for it because it had not created any clear strategy of cooperation with national minorities. “Problem of Samtskhe-Javakheti plays a serious role in the Georgian-Armenian relations. Without questioning the Georgian national unity, it's clear that Javakheti must keep its national, Armenian identity. Georgia, which goes on the way of democracy, must understand it. Violation of national minorities rights leads to revolt,” stated Levon Mkrtchan.

On December 11, an incident occurred in the Armenian-populated Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia. The reason was a recent dismissal of all the ethnic Armenians from the customs office near the village of Zhdanovakan at the Armenian-Georgian border. They were replaced by Georgian custom officers from other regions of Georgia. Hundreds of local residents rallied near the custom and border stations at the border of Georgia and Armenia. . They appealed to the Samtskhe-Javakheti governor asking to come to the scene and investigate the situation. However, after the governor declined to come, a quarrel of the residents with the Georgian custom officials and frontier guards occurred. As a result, the Georgian officers had to live the check-points that were then partially destroyed. However, a group of the civilians then came to the Armenian check-point which was also damaged. Local residents explained their actions by the fact that along with the hard economic situation and unbearable conditions of life, the region is in reality half-blockaded and actions of the custom officials at the Georgian as well as at the Armenian border make the situation even worse.

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15:44 12/16/2005