Armenians in Akhalkalaki Fear To Lose Work

Novosti
2005-03-14 18:46

ARMENIANS IN AKHALKALAKI FEAR TO LOSE WORK

TBILISI, March 14 (RIA Novosti) – Georgian parliamentarian Van Baiburt, the
editor-in-chief of the newspaper Vrastan (Georgia in the Armenian language)
believes that the dissatisfaction of the Akhalkalaki inhabitants with the
coming withdrawal of the Russian military base from the town near the
Georgian-Armenian border is not of a political, but of a social nature.

As the News-Georgia agency repots, speaking in the First Channel of the
Georgian State Television, Van Baiburt commented on yesterday’s meeting in
Akhalkalaki in which about 2,000 local inhabitants took part. They called
for not be in a hurry with the Russian bases withdrawal from Georgia. (Apart
from Akhalkalaki, Russia has a base in Batumi, Adjaria.)

The meeting participants called for creating new jobs for them and only then
to solve the question about the withdrawal of the Russian military base from
Akhalkalaki at which many inhabitants of that district work or serve.

The inhabitants of the Akhalkalaki district, the majority of whom are
Armenians, adopted an address to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in
which they asked him to solve a number of social problems – in the sphere of
education, employment, repairing roads, and some others.

According to Van Baiburt, “the well-being of about one thousand Akhalkalaki
residents depend upon the Russian military base activity, and they fear to
lose work.”

The parliamentarian also said that “after the withdrawal of the Russian
military bases from Akhalkalaki, it is planned to deploy there a unit of the
Georgian Defence Ministry where about 1.500 local inhabitants will be able
to work or serve.”

Not long ago, the Georgian President said that it had been planned to
implement a number of business projects in the Akhalkalaki district, which
will make it possible to give work to several thousand local inhabitants.
Apart from that, in the near future, the authorities intend to build a new
modern highway between Tbilisi and Akhalkalaki. In building this road mostly
local inhabitants will take part.

The newspaper Vrastan, published in the Armenian language, is addressed to
the 400,000 Armenians in Georgia. Some 300,000 of them live in
Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti (Southern Georgia). In some villages of the district
the Armenians account for 96 per cent of the population. Presently, the
villagers do not have a possibility to see and hear TV and radio broadcasts.
And, therefore, the newspaper in their own native language is the only
source of information. The copies of this newspaper are brought to the
distr8ct, using any occasion. According to the newspaper’s editor-in-chief
Van Baiburt, its main tasks is to show the variety of the political palette,
to acquaint the readers with the latest news and to see to it that the
interests of the Armenian community are observed.

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