Kiro Manoyan: Georgian Authorities Seek to Change Demographic Map of Javakhk

by on 2009/06/26  •  In ԶԼՄ-ներում

At a press conference held today, Kiro Manoyan, who heads the ARF Political and “Hay Dat” office in Yerevan commented that ever since the independence of Georgia, successive presidents and the Georgian Church have resorted to a variety of means to change the demographic face of Javakhk.

He expressed concern regarding the statement made by Georgian President Saakashvili, while in Yerevan that a major hydro-electric facility was planned for Javakhk and that 2,000-3,000 new workers would be converging on the area from abroad.

“There already exists a huge labor force in the region that can no longer travel to Russia to find work due to existing economic conditions. By bringing in foreign workers they are seeking to change the demographic picture in Javakhk. They once tried to turn the place into a place for exiled persons. The plan didn’t work out. They tried to build a prison there but the local residents protested. Now, the Georgian authorities are presenting these plans for a power station and such as a ruse to bring in outsiders,” Mr. Manoyan said.

The ARF official claimed that the Georgians were bringing in workers from other regions of Georgia to work on the railway that passes through Akhalkalak even though work has slowed down on the project.

“The concerns are never ending. The Armenian Church continues to have no official status in Georgia and it’s the same with other non-Georgian orthodox faiths. There are a host of issues that must be resolved,” Mr. Manoyan pointed out.

In his estimation, Javakhk must serve as the strongest link tying Armenia and Georgia but that today it is the weakest. He claimed that when Armenians and Georgians worked together, the interests of both peoples benefitted and that the Georgian authorities must relize this fact of life.

Mr. Manoyan, commenting on the Medal of Honor that RoA President Sargsyan presented President Saakashvili with during his recent visit to Armenia, said that, “I couldn’t understand why the medal was given to him. According to President Sargsyan it was because of the work he is carrying out in Javakhk. When President Sargsyan made his last trip to Tbilisi, Primate Vazgen Mirzakhanyan of the Armenian Church, informed him of the issues facing the Armenian community. During the intervening months one can claim that President Saakashvili has done nothing new to resolve these matters and thus merit an honorary medal. Maybe it was a diplomatic tit-for-tat since President Sargsyan was given a similar medal while in Georgia.”

Commenting on yesterday’s demonstration outside the Armenia Marriott Hotel and the ensuing fracas, Mr. Manoyan said that the response of the Armenian police was heavy-handed and that they could have handled the affair with more aplomb given that the protestors presented no threat or security risk. He confessed that the police did not use excessive force against him personally and that the incident more resembled a Greco-Roman wrestling match than anything else.

“I believe that the demands of the protest organizers were sufficiently heard and that they reached the ear of President Saakashvili through the pages of the press. It seemed like a decision had been made to keep Republic Square clear of any protestors and out of range of President Saakashvili. That was the main aim of the police but their actions just publicized the protest even more. But why should Saakashvili be shielded from reality? It doesn’t make sense,” Mr. Manoyan said.

Sona Avagyan

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