Georgian Foreign Minister Arrives in Armenia

YEREVAN (combined sources)–A Georgian delegation led by Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili arrived in Armenia on March 28 for a one-day official visit. In a briefing at Zvartnots Airport–the Georgian minister announced that issues of mutual interest would be discussed during his meetings in Yerevan. No signing of documen’s is expected–but the issue of drafting a series of documen’s will be discussed.

Menagarishvili pointed out that a regular meeting of the Armenian-Georgian Intergovernmental Economic Commission would be held within the next few weeks. The Georgian official also stressed that there is a solid contractual basis between the two countries. "A good tradition of mutual visits has been established between our countries. Last year Vartan Oskanian was in Georgia and now it is my turn to visit Yerevan"–said Menagarishvili.

Georgia’s debt to Armenia–in the minister’s opinion–is not the most pressing issue in relations between the two countries–but this question will certainly be discussed in the context of developing economic relations. Menagarishvili said that he could not see "acute" problems in Georgian-Armenian relations. In the meantime–"there are a number of issues which need to be resolved"–Menagarishvili said.

The top diplomatic representative of Georgia expressed his satisfaction with the fact that both countries display a common approach in all directions in their efforts to find solutions to these problems.

At their meeting–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and his Georgian counterpart discussed issues of bilateral economic and political relations–review of contractual legislation–regional security–and the two countries’ cooperation within international organizations.

According to the public relations department of the foreign ministry–at the beginning of the meeting Menagarishvili congratulated Armenia on its accession to the Council of Europe. Praising the relations between Armenia and Georgia–the two ministers noted that the stability in the Caucasus is to a great extent conditioned by friendly relations between the two countries. They stressed the importance of activities directed toward the establishment of a security and stability system in the Caucasus–emphasizing the fact that there are no disagreemen’s between the two countries concerning this issue.

Oskanian stated that the membership of all three Transcaucasian countries in the CE will give a fresh impetus to cooperation between them in the direction of European integration. He emphasized that in this connection implementation of regional programs is important. Armenia’s proposal to hold a regional conference on information technologies–approved by the CE–will become a step forward in regional cooperation.

Menagarishvili was later received by Prime Minister Andranik Margarian. The Information and Public Relations Department of the Armenian government quoted both sides as expressing their willingness to maintain and develop friendly relations between the two peoples and governmen’s. Taking into account both countries’ membership in the Council of Europe–the sides stressed the need for closer cooperation in the international arena–deeper bilateral ties and realization of joint regional programs.

The sides specified the range of issues concerning economic relations that will be discussed at full length during a joint meeting of the Armenian-Georgian intergovernmental economic commission due to be held in Yerevan in the second half of April.

Prime Minister Andranik Margarian also touched on the problems of the Armenia’s of Javakhk (Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti region). Saying that these problems are mostly of a socio-economic nature and that their solution was an internal affair of Georgia–Margarian emphasized that Armenia could not remain indifferent to the fate of Armenia’s living abroad in general and in Javakhk in particular and that Armenia was ready to provide assistance in solving problems.

Menagarishvili is also scheduled to meet with President Kocharian and His Holiness Karekin II–Catholicos of All Armenia’s.

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