MINELRES: Georgian Minority Communities and NATO Expansion - Kvemo Kartli Study Results

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Aug 18 09:10:26 2008


Original sender: Alexandra Kalatozishvili <yupmmg@yahoo.com>


Dear friends, 

Please find information about visit to Kvemo Kartli attached.
 

Sincerely yours,

Press service Centre
of Youth Union of Public Movement Multinational Georgia

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Press Release 

Georgian Minority Communities and NATO Expansion - Kvemo Kartli Visit
Results

What do we know about how Georgia's national minorities view NATO? Are
Georgia's national minorities against the membership of Georgia into
NATO and if so, how can the authorities prevent a critical rift
occurring, between central policy and popular feeling in the regions?

This week  Youth Union Public Movement Multinational Georgia (YUPMMG)
sent two representatives to Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region, for the
second stage of their initiative to map minority attitudes towards NATO.
There they held discussion forums with teachers, political leaders, mass
media and NGO workers on the subject of NATO. The aim was to discover
what they knew about NATO and how they felt about Georgia joining the
alliance. 
This stage follows on from similar meetings in Akhalkalaki (Samtskhe
Javakheti Region) in June. What was learnt was that popular fears of
minorities in Kvemo Kartli regarding accession to NATO and their
relationship with Russia differ from those in Samstkhe-Javakheti,
because although favourable relationships with Russia is important, this
is not seen by anyone interviewed as a viable alternative to NATO.  

An additional fear repeated by many in Marneuli relates to Georgia's
involvement in NATO's operations in the Middle East, which they feared
may make Georgia vulnerable to terrorists, or suggest Georgia is against
Islam- a particular concern because many Kvemo Kartli residents are
Muslims. 

Although like those interviewed in Akhalkalaki, they also identified
unemployment, and especially youth unemployment, as being a priority for
minorities, Marneuli residents were less optimistic that NATO would
bring solutions, even if bases are established there.  Echoing
Akhalkalaki however, many cited the lack of concrete information about
NATO being spread among all the population as an ongoing problem,
despite assurances from local authorities that they have already reached
all local residents.
 
The comments will feed into policy recommendations to be provided by
YUPMMG to NATO representatives, NGOs and the government, aimed at
ensuring the inclusion of Georgia's minorities into the future NATO
agenda.

For any queries please contact our NATO initiative press representative
on Tel: +995
93961325

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