Related Armenian And Georgian Relations

Hakob Badalyan

Lragir, Armenia
July 30 2007

There are things which are talked about in general terms which usually
do not convey anything. Amazingly, the Armenian and Georgian relations
have become one of these things. Meanwhile, their importance and
significance shows that these relations should cause public debates
more often because these relations obviously lack the level and quality
that their vitality requires. Recent evidence to this is the visit of
the Armenian foreign minister Vardan Oskanyan to Georgia. The visit was
not announced to have a definite purpose. In other words, it could be
viewed as contact between neighbors to discuss current working issues.

Nevertheless, the visit has interesting nuances. In addition there
are several interesting things about it. First, the Armenian foreign
minister met with Varsholomidzeh, the prime minister of the autonomous
republic of Adjaria. Certainly, this is not the case when the parties
discussed the centuries-old friendship of Armenians and Adjars. This
friendship might be centuries old or not. But there are more important
things that the Armenian foreign minister and the prime minister of an
autonomous republic within Georgia could discuss. Certainly, economic
programs are meant. Adjaria is an opportunity to expand the economy
of Armenia, if not by piercing the border of blockade, at least by
getting it farther from us. The point is that the dynamic growth of
the number of Armenian tourists and the opportunities for Armenian
businessmen to make investments in Adjaria somehow leads us out of
this 29 thousand square meter area. It is not a way out, of course,
but at least it lets hope… Perhaps the foreign minister of the
country caught in innumerable regional, geopolitical problems meets
with the prime minister of a coastland sovereign state for this purpose

It is notable that the next interesting point of the "Georgian review"
of Vardan Oskanyan also has an obviously economic context. It is
the meeting with the foreign diplomats accredited to Georgia, which
happened in the region of Lori. At least the official purpose of
this meeting is to discuss economic issues and possibilities for
investments, presenting to the ambassadors the opportunities our
country provides and expecting that they will share their impressions
with the businessmen of their countries. At first sight, everything
is highly logical. However, there are foreign diplomats and embassies
to Armenia as well. What’s the point of inviting the diplomats to
Georgia if the same could be done regarding the diplomats accredited
to Armenia? Certainly, most countries do not have embassies to Armenia
and set up diplomatic relations with Armenia through their ambassadors
to Georgia. In this case, however, they could invite together with
the diplomats accredited to Armenia the resident ambassadors to
Georgia. Didn’t official Yerevan think about it even if we assume that
the initiative came from the Armenian ambassador to Georgia Silvanyan?

Ostensibly, the meeting of the ambassadors accredited to Lori has
another purpose. Certainly it is difficult to say what purpose it
is because unlike the seaside business component, the political
aspect of the Armenian and Georgian relation is not so public. The
elites of both countries come in touch in a peculiar manner, and
usually before or after a meeting with the elite of another country
which is interested in the issues of the region. It is notable,
for instance, that a few years ago, before his visit to France,
the president of Armenia visited Sahakashvili to ski, injured the
leg and delayed the visit to France. Now it is notable, by the way,
that the president of Armenia has just returned from France when
the foreign minister meets in Armenia with the foreign ambassadors
accredited to Georgia. The mentioning of France does not mean this
country is directly related to this. It is just an example that the
Armenian and Georgian relation is not direct and is mainly based
on related relations, which is evidence that despite declarations
of mutual respect and importance Yerevan and Tbilisi do not have a
"good opinion" on each other. And it is already a major problem,
even though the related influence mitigates all the possible problems.