YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–President Edward Shevardnadze expressed his deep satisfaction with his talks in Yerevan upon completing his two-day official visit to Armenia. "I think we’ve made a tremendous step forward and now we must speak of a new phase in our cooperation and of building new relations between our two independent states," the Georgian president said at Yerevan’s airport before departure. President Robert Kocharian shared the opinion of his Georgian counterpart. "We had a serious talk concerning all aspects of our relationship," he said.
Asked whether Armenia and Georgia are ready to combine their mediatory efforts in facilitating solutions to the conflicts in Karabakh and Abkhazia–Shevardnadze said that his talks with Kocharian also focused on ways to settle conflicts in the South Caucasus. "As to Abkhazia–I think that we need to actively join the conflict settlement so that we will have a peaceful sky above us–and such a prospect does exist."
Answering the same question–Kocharian said that Armenia is keenly interested in a quick resolution to the Abkhazian conflict and has a direct interest in the functioning of railroads and other transport facilities to develop its trade links. "Our role consists of keeping our Diaspora in Abkhazia aware of our approaches to the problem," the Armenian president said. Too many intermediaries–in Kocharian’s opinion–will not necessarily mean progress in settling conflicts–while it may be quite the opposite.
The Armenian president informed reporters that they’d arranged with Edward Shevardnadze to hold official meetings and meetings "without ties" both in Georgia and in Armenia in the future.
Shevardnadze invited his Armenian colleague to pay both official and unofficial visits to Georgia.