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Groups in Samtskhe-Javakheti Advocate Autonomy
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Sep.'05 / 17:31

A group of non-governmental organizations based in Georgia’s southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti, which is predominately populated by ethnic Armenians, held a conference on September 23-24 and discussed current problems in the region.

In a resolution adopted at the conference, the Council of Armenian non-governmental organizations in Samtskhe-Javakheti called on the Georgian leadership to consider granting autonomy to the region with “broad authority for self-governance, including the right to hold elections for all bodies of governance.”

Text of the resolution also says that by offering the broadest form of autonomy to South Ossetia and Abkhazia the Georgian authorities are “discriminating other ethnicities living in Georgia – the rights of [other ethnicities] who have demonstrated civil loyalty are being ignored.”

“Meanwhile, those regions who have violated the country’s territorial integrity [South Ossetia, Abkhazia], are offered solutions, which should also be available for [ethnic populations] densly residing in some of the regions of the country,” the resolution says.

Participants of the conference stated that a federal arrangement of Georgia could be the best solution to the problem and called on the Georgian leadership to consider creating a “Samtskhe-Javakheti Parliament through free and direct elections, which would be authorized to carry out cultural, education social and economic policies, as well as [will be authorized] to protect public order.”

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