Interfax, Russia
Jan 28 2009

Ethnic Azeris demand change in Georgia's political system

BAKU Jan 28

The National Assembly of Azeris in Georgia (NAAG) has demanded that
the Georgian leadership change the country's political system, NAAG
president Dashgyn Gyulmamedov told Interfax.

"We demand that they create the Georgian confederation of constituent
regions populated by Georgians, Ossetians and Abkhazians.

Otherwise, the Georgian state will collapse," Gyulmamedov said.

"If the Georgian government does not heed to this demand, then in a
year the European Union, Russia and Turkey will take real action to
create such a confederation," he added.

The Azeris living in Georgia are not asking to be recognized as a
constituent region of the future confederation, Gyulmamedov said.

"Georgian Azeris live in 17 regions, forming communities in just four
of them. This is why part of the ethnic Azeri population could stay
outside an autonomy. Therefore this [an autonomy] is not in our
interests. Nor in Georgia's interests," he said.

The only thing that Ethnic Azeris demand is an official status for
their language in Georgia, Gyulmamedov said. "We demand that the Azeri
language be made an official language to prevent its further
discrimination in Georgia," Gyulmamedov said.

Ethnic Azeris disapprove of the demand by Georgia's ethnic Armenians
to give them an autonomy, the NAAG president also said.