Regional Stability Focus of Georgia FM Visit to Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Georgia’s Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili–arrived in Armenia on Wednesday to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues with Armenia’s leadership.

Zurabishvili and Armenian counterpart Vartan Oskanian spoke about the advantages of forging and strengthening existing partnerships with European and Euroatlantic structures–namely–the European Union and NATO. The two bodies have recently shifted their focus to the stability of the South Caucuses–and have stepped up activity there.

Addressing regional economic development–Oskanian targeted the development of road and transport corridors extending east-west–and north-south in order to make the South Caucasus a lively trade route. In this context–the full reopening of regional railroads–specifically the Kars-Gyumri-Tbilisi–and the Abkhazian section of the Russia-Georgia-Armenia railroads–were emphasized.

Regional energy safety was reviewed–along with possible approaches to resolving issues in Mountainous Karabagh–Ossetia–and Abkhazia. Later in the day–Zurabishvili met with Armenian National Assembly Speaker Artur Baghdassarian and Prime Minister Andranik Margarian who stressed that healthy bilateral relations between their two countries is key to regional stability.

Margarian–who co-chairs the Armenian-Georgian Inter-Governmental Commission on Economic Cooperation with his Georgian counterpart Zurab Zhvania–is due to visit Georgia for a regular meeting of the commission to review cooperation in the economic–energy–and transportation sectors.

Margarian offered Armenia’s assistance in implementing socio-economic development programs in Georgia’s impoverished region of Javakhk–and expressed confidence that Georgia would pay due attention to the economic–cultural–and education problems that Javakh’s majority Armenian population faces.

Zurabishvili also met with representatives of the Georgian community in Armenia at the Georgian Embassy–and visited the Parajanov house-museum–and the Armenian Genocide memorial. She will also be meeting with President Robert Kocharian.

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