Tuesday, January 30, 2007

United Javakhk against construction Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway

January 30, 2007
The Messenger

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)

Javakheti Armenians in Samtskhe-Javakheti in southern Georgia live in severe poverty. Construction of the Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway holds the promise of helping solve many economic and social problems in the area, but, as the railway does not serve the interests of Armenia, many locals are protesting its construction.

According to the Russian news agency Regnum the local Armenian organization the United Javakhk Democratic Alliance is against construction of the Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway. Chair of the organization Shirak Torosian does not deny that this project will be economically profitable for Armenians living in the Javakheti region. But because the railway is against Armenia's interests he says they must protest its construction.

"Armenians living in Javakheti want Armenia to be powerful," explains Torosian, as quoted in the newspaper Rezonansi.

Minister of Economic Development Giorgi Arveladze commented on Torosian's statement, highlighting the profits the region would benefit from after the project's implementation.
If Georgia is conspiring with Turkey and Azerbaijan to isolate Armenia economically from the Caucasus region, how does it expect Armenians of Georgia to support them? This is more telling of Georgia's attitude than the Armenians who do not wish prosperity at the expense of impoverishing Armenia.
According to him, more than USD 300 million in investments will be put into the area, creating many new economic opportunities for the region, new jobs and closer cooperation with Tbilisi.

"Thus the Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway construction is very significant for Akhalkalaki [Javakheti's main town] and for all of southern Georgia's development. It will provide the area with a better economic future and help it integrate into Georgia's economic life," Arveladze said.

Some argue that fighting against the project will perpetuate the Javakheti Armenians isolation from the rest of Georgia, deepening tensions and snubbing real opportunities to improve their economic livelihoods.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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