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Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is surprised at the "politicized" response of the leadership of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church to the release of Armenian activist Vahagn Chakhalyan, the statement of the Georgian President's Administration says.
Georgia Online says that the President's Administration once again expresses its deep respect for the ethnic Armenians living in Georgia and for the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The ethnic and confessional diversity is the cornerstone of the strength and freedom of the Georgian state. The view of the Georgian President and his political team is based on the multi-ethnic unity of the country and is the basis of free society. The statement of the President's Administration says that all citizens of Georgia are equal and are the owners of the country regardless of their origin and faith. The President of Georgia has repeatedly pointed out the heroism of Georgian citizens, ethnic Armenians in their fight for freedom and independence of Georgia, in building of new Georgia. The statement also says that the Georgian public is also aware that Georgia had and has political and public groups, which build their political outlook based on various types of phobias, including xenophobia against Armenians. The Georgian President has repeatedly stated that such an approach is absolutely unacceptable. Against this background, the latest statement of the Georgian Diocese of the
Armenian Apostolic Church concerning Georgian citizen Vahagn Chakhalyan causes some amazement, the statement says. The President stressed in his statement that the ethnicity of Chakhalyan did not matter. The matter concerned the criminal actions made by the citizen of Georgia.
"President of Georgia used to often express his negative attitude to the amnesty, and especially to releasing of Russian agents, the majority of which are ethnic Georgians. At the same time, Saakashvili emphasized that among the released people there were citizens that did not have Georgian citizenship. They were arrested for espionage in favor of Russia and other heavy crimes (Yuriy Strelnikov and Armen Gevorkyan) and Russia demanded to release them long ago. The present authorities of Georgia did not even try to exchange foreign spies for Georgian citizens which are in Russian prisons for the fabricated accusation for espionage. We cannot understand the reaction of the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church regarding this political position. It is not clear why the fact of releasing of specific criminals, Russian agents, and the grounded criticizing of the new authorities of Georgia, have become a motive for the politicized statement by the leaders of the Armenian diocese. We hope that lack of information caused such misunderstanding", - the statement says.
To recall, Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church disseminated a statement in which it called on the president and United National Movement to abstain from provocative statements about the Armenian activist Vahagn Chakhalyan which has been recently released on amnesty.