Sarkisian, Saakashvili Discuss Regional Stability

TBILISI (Armenpress)–Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian traveled to Tbilisi Tuesday and met his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili to discuss regional issues. At the conclusion of the meeting, Sarkisian told reporters during a joint press conference with his Georgian counterpart that his visit was successful and the two leaders had reached important conclusions on issues of mutual concern.

The main topic of conversation was guaranteeing the security of travel and trade routes between Armenia and Georgia, impacted seriously following the Russian-Georgian conflict this summer.

“I have said on several occasions that the stability of Georgia is of utmost importance to Armenia. So much so that it can be equated to Armenia’s national security,” said Sarkisian.

The Armenian President pointed out that 85 percent of Armenia’s trade was taking place through Georgia, adding that hundreds of thousands of Armenia’s lived in Georgia proper. This, coupled with the centuries-old friendship between the two countries prompted the need for this meeting to address, most importantly the guarantees for transport and communication.

“We have concluded that relations between Georgia and Armenia’should develop positively. We can say with great pleasure that there is potential for development of our relations, first of all, in the sphere of integration of economies,” added Sarkisian.

Saakashvili called for the simplification of visa rules between Georgia and Armenia, saying it would improve relations between the two countries.

“The Georgian-Armenian border should be and it already is the border of friendship,” Saakashvili said. “We have agreed to work more closely. I have instructed the ministers of finance and economy to visit Yerevan in order to ensure that border crossing procedures are as simple as possible.”

He said that the two countries would work jointly to boost bi-lateral economic ties, in particular through the construction of new roads linking the two countries.

Saakashvili also said that he and Sarkisian had agreed to set up a consortium to attract funds for the construction of a new transit highway through the Goderdzi Pass in the Adjaran Autonomous Republic. He added that the road, the construction of which will take several years, will half the traveling time from Armenia to the Black Sea region.

He also thanked the Armenian president for expressing support for Georgia’s territorial integrity.

“I think that recent developmen’s in Georgia have clearly demonstrated how important regional cooperation is, how everybody suffers from problems and conflicts and how important it is to solve all the issues quickly,” Saakashvili said.

He also said both countries were close to finalizing work on border delimitation and “practically there are no unsettled issues there.”

“I am sure that the future of the Caucasus is in the creation of a uniform market, the creation of uniform human, cultural and economic spheres, close cooperation with other countries of the region. Of course, before coming to that, we should settle the existing problems, but I am sure that all these problems can be settled,” Saakashvili added.

The Armenian president said at the press conference that the two countries have more room to improve bilateral cooperation. He stressed that Georgia’s stability was very important for Armenia.

The Armenian president also emphasized that existing problems could not be settled through military intervention. “We all understand that the Caucasus is a small region, but it is a very sensitive area, as interests are intercrossed here and we should do our best to ensure that these interests are used in favor of our peoples,” said Sarkisian at the press conference.

A group Armenia’s from Javakhk traveled to Tbilisi to meet with Sarkisian.

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