At This Rate, Armenia will Be Turned into Mines and Tailings, Warn Environmentalists
On behalf of residents of his village, Qajaran mayor Rafik Atayan stated that they will keep their village, they are the owners of the village and they’re not preparing to hand over their lands. Atayan today met with journalists in Yerevan, discussing the situation with the village in the southeastern Armenian province of Syunik, where residents, backed by environmentalists, are fighting for the communal land adjacent to their village which the government has alienated and transferred to Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine.
“We won’t be the ones to open the border to Nakhchivan [note: the village is near the de facto exclave of Azerbaijan]. We were born here; we live [here]; we are restoring the 12th century church; our village lives. Compensation doesn’t interest us; we don’t need any thing. We live in this village and we will die here. I just buried my mother — to whom should I leave her grave?” he said.
Atayan insists that the government decision should be annulled.
Asked what is the view of Syunik regional governor Surik (Suren) Khachatryan on the matter, the village mayor said, “Ask him — each person speaks for himself.”
Also present at the press conference, head of the Heritage Party parliamentary faction Stepan (Styopa) Safaryan said today he sent a letter to RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, asking the matter be discussed immediately following the New Year and Christmas (marked on Jan. 6) holidays.
In the MP’s opinion, the nature of the border and the insistence of Kajaran residents to stay in their village is more valuable than any compensation the government can give them.
“The state has adopted such a policy that in just a few years it wants to deplete our mines and get rich. This is the policy implemented by the state. The patents to exploit multiple mines given to several companies are very lucrative, and the sale of this raw material in the global market brings in a huge profit.
“If this issue isn’t solved, Armenia will very quickly turn into mines and [poisonous] tailings,” said one other participant at the press conference, Heritage Party MP Zaruhi Postanjyan.
The press conference summed up with organizers and activists urging all interested parties to join them in a demonstration outside the Government of Armenia building in Yerevan’s Republic Square at 11 am tomorrow, which will be followed by a march to the presidential residence on Baghramyan Ave.
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