Sarkisian Discusses Energy Projects in Georgia

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili (right) meets with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (left) in Tbilisi on October 30, 2015 (Source: RFE/RL)
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili (right) meets with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (left) in Tbilisi on October 30, 2015 (Source: RFE/RL)

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili (right) meets with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (left) in Tbilisi on October 30, 2015 (Source: RFE/RL)

TBILISI (RFE/RL)—President Serzh Sarkisian met with Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili during a working visit to Tbilisi on Friday, where they discussed joint energy projects and their impact on Georgia-Armenian relations.

Official statements on the talks suggested that they focused on economic issues. Gharibashvili’s office said they discussed “prospects for enhancing economic cooperation” between the two neighboring states. It gave no further details.

A statement by the Armenian presidential press service said Sarkisian and Gharibashvili “stressed the importance of the implementation of infrastructure projects, including on energy, of regional significance.” It said they agreed that those projects “will considerably strengthen economic ties between Armenia and Georgia.”

The statement most probably referred to the unfolding construction of a fourth Armenian-Georgian electricity transmission line which is supposed to synchronize the two countries’ power grids. The $115 million project is financed by Germany’s state-run development bank KfW and the European Union.

Gharibashvili and Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze discussed the issue with their Armenian counterparts when they visited Yerevan last year. The Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said at the time that the two sides will be able to more than triple mutual electricity supplies after the new line goes on stream in 2018.

Sarkisian’s latest trip to Tbilisi comes as the Georgian government is exploring the possibility of diversifying the sources of natural gas supplied to Georgia. The bulk of that gas is currently imported from Azerbaijan.

Georgia could specifically start buying gas from Russia or Iran. Kaladze said on Wednesday that he will visit Tehran next month to discuss the matter with Iranian officials.

A deal with Iran would make Armenia a potential transit route for Iranian gas deliveries to Georgia. Armenia has been importing relatively modest volumes of Iranian gas through a pipeline built in 2007.

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