Lake Sevan Sets Stage for Kocharian Saakashvili Informal Talks

LAKE SEVAN–President Robert Kocharian met with his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili at a popular Armenian resort on Monday for informal talks–according to a presidential source.

Sources in the Armenian presidential administration said that Saakashvili arrived in Yerevan on Sunday and joined Kocharian at his summer retreat on the shore of Lake Sevan. His Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili later joined them.

The last meeting between the two leaders took place at a Georgian ski resort last April–when they discussed tensions in Georgia’s impoverished Javakhk region–which is mostly Armenian-populated. According to a Russian news agency–the situation in Javakhk was again on their agenda.

The Armenian and Georgian prime ministers paid a joint visit to the restive region late last month–promising joint efforts to alleviate socioeconomic problems. The Georgian premier Zurab Noghaideli announced his government will use additional U.S. assistance that will be provided to Georgia to rebuild the local roads and other infrastructure.

Speaking to a group of Armenian journalists last week–Saakashvili called for the establishment of closer economic ties between the two neighboring countries. "Developing without each other would not be rational–natural or right," he said.

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