Bilateral Jealousy Hinders development of Political-Economic Relns.

Bilateral Jealousy Hinders development of Political-Economic Relations

24 July 2004

On July 22 Georgian Foreign Minister in his interview to the
journalists in the airport before leaving for Tbilisi, said that the
two countries should act as a united region in the relations with the

The official Yerevan is likely to be concerned about the position
Georgia has undertaken in the relations with EU. Tbilisi authorities
spare no efforts for emphasizing their country’s importance among the
three Caucasian countries, their devotion to Europe.

Salome Zurabishvili’s statement is likely to please the Armenian
side. In the airport Vartan Oskanian explained what it means “to act
as united region.” “It is really desirable, as the European
structures want that too. Unfortunately, there are problems in our
region and Azerbaijan is the only obstacle for being united. But we
will try to coordinate our cooperation with Georgia inthe best way. If
Azerbaijan wishes, it can join us”, Oskanian said.

Zurabishvili met with RA President, RA Prime Minister and RA NA
Chairman, besides meeting with her colleague. She evaluates her first
visit to Armenia positively. “We are determined to deepen our economic
relations. The political relations are very good, but they need to be
deepened too,” Zurabishvili said.

Vartan Oskanian also evaluates the visit of Georgian Foreign Minister
to Armenia positively.

There are two main blocks in our relations: business cooperation,
economic issues that will be discussed more thoroughly during the
visit of RA prime Minister to Tbilisi in the course of the
inter-governmental sitting. Duringthis visit we were more concentrated
on the conceptual issues, projects and programs. Regional issues,
general processes of our cooperation were touched upon. We discussed
railroad, gas pipeline, oil pipeline and transportation, transit
programs in general, as well as the Armenian-Georgian cooperation
within the framework of TRANSECA. There are certain agreements, but
according to the foreign minister, at present, there are no results
yet. We agreed to deepen cooperation and coordinate our activities in
other issues, particularly, in the European direction,” Oskanian said.

On June 14 Yerevan, Baku and Tbilisi joined “Larger Europe. New
Neighbors” EU initiative that envisages new level of relations between
the Caucasian countries and the EU. As we stated already, Tbilisi
tries to leave behind its two neighbors. Supposedly, Yerevan is
concerned about Georgia-NATO relations. The three Caucasian countries
cooperate with NATO on equal level within the framework of
“Partnership for Peace” program. The probable fast entry of Georgia to
NATO, the Georgian authorities often talk about, may cause dividing
lines in the Caucasus.

The integration into the European structures will be discussed during
the meeting of Zurabishvili with Andranik Margarian. “Emphasizing
Armenia=80=99 and Georgia ‘s determination in the European integration
issues, the sides pointed out the big possibilities for cooperation,
especially, taking into account the involvement of the Caucasian
countries into “New Neighbors” EU program,” writes the pres release of
RA President’s Press Office.

Robert Kocharian and Salome Zurabishvili stated that the level of the
bilateral economic relations doesn’t keep in line with the real
possibilities and intentions of the two countries. Kocharian
emphasized the importance of the economic cooperation issues and
intergovernmental committee’s activities. Let’s remind that RA Prime
Minister will leave for Georgia on July 25-27. Kocharian emphasized
“the high level of the Armenian-Georgian relations that are based on
mutual trust and friendship of the two peoples” during the meeting
with Zurabishvili.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Armenian-Georgian relations are
called friendly, there are many complicated issues in the
Tbilisi-Yerevan relations. The existence of a common border causes
some complications in the relations, as usual. In this respect, the
Armenian-Georgian relations can be no exceptionto the rule. On the
other hand, the relations between the two peoples lack mutual
trust. The lack of trust in the relations of the two countries is
conditioned by different, sometimes contradicting vectors in their
foreign policies. Very often Georgia is considered as a territory
divided in many parts that hinder the Armenian-Russian relations. In
its turn, Georgia considers Armenia as “Russia’s backdoor” and the
Russian soldiers located in Armenia as destabilizing factor for the
whole region.

Many other issues existing between Armenia and Georgia can be pointed
out. The most undesirable one among them is the mutual mistrust of
the common Armenian and Georgian towards each other. No one tried to
hold a poll to find out how much the Armenians mistrust the Georgians,
but a year ago, as a result of a poll, the Georgians found out that
they mistrust the Armenians most of all among their neighbors.

By Tatoul Hakobian