Sarkisian Seeks Boost in Economic Ties with Georgia

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)–President Serzh Sarkisian met Wednesday with the Speaker of Georgia’s Parliament for talks on the deepening of economic and political ties between the two countries.

Parliament Speaker David Bakradze’s meeting with Sarkisian came at the end of his two day visit to Yerevan. He held similar talks with Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan Tuesday. Bakradze also delivered a speech to the Armenian National Assembly on Tuesday and laid a wreath at the Dzidzernagapert Genocide Memorial.

Sarkisian underscored the importance of cooperation between the neighboring countries, noting that such visits “greatly contribute to the further deepening of “the historic and close ties of friendship between the Armenian and Georgian peoples.”

The two discussed Sarkisian’s visit to Georgia last September, where he signed a series of agreemen’s aimed at developing transport links and economic relations between the two countries. One of the agreemen’s outlined a project 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. The road, when constructed, will reduce by half the traveling time from Armenia to the Black Sea region.
Sarkisian Seeks Boost in Economic Ties with Georgia

Published: Wednesday February 25, 2009
The accomplishment of this program will enhance the further development of Armenian-Georgian economic relations, both said.

Both also stressed that there are no problems between Armenia and Georgia that cannot be solved through joint discussions and dialogue, stressing also that a balanced approach to these problems is needed on both sides. Neither specified what these problems were.

Ways to cooperate within the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership program and the two countries handling of the global economic crisis were also on the agenda of their talks.

Bakradze’s visit to Armenia comes amid a period of heightened tension in Georgia, as the authorities in Tbilisi continue to clamp down on the country’s Armenian minority. But His speech to Armenia’s parliament, avoided any talk of the worsening socioeconomic conditions facing Georgia’s predominantly Armenian region of Javakhk.

Relations between the two countries have, as a result, been uneasy as of late with the Tbilisi brushing aside Yerevan’s concerns regarding the plight of Georgia’s historic Armenian community.

Last fall Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan was forced to intervene when Georgian authorities were bulldozing the Norashen Armenian church in Tbilisi. Norashen, a 5th century Armenian Church, has long been the target of a wide reaching campaign by the Georgian Orthodox Church to take over Armenian Church holdings.

In January Georgian Interior Ministry forces ambushed and arrested two Javakhk activists and charged them with organizing illegal militant groups and spying. The issue has yet to be resolved and both men are still in prison.

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