Tbilisi: Armenia angry over Saakashvili’s remarks

The Messenger, Georgia
March 13 2009

Armenia angry over Saakashvili’s remarks

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, March 13

President of Armenia Serzh Sarkisian has placed the responsibility for
`complicated relations’ with Armenia on Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili, the Georgian media says, based on reports from the
Armenian News Agency News Armenia. `Saakashvili cannot put up with
Armenia having close relations with Moscow,’ the Armenian agency
quoted Sarkisian as saying.

The Armenian President’s statement comes after Saakashvili’s remarks
on March 7 that `Armenia’s economy has been completely crushed,
because Armenia has been totally dependant on the Russian market. The
Russian market has collapsed and Armenia’s economy has collapsed too.’
Soon after the Georgian President’s speech the Armenian media released
a statement by Sarkisian’s Press Secretary Samvel Farmanian.

The Press Spokesperson of the Georgian President, Alana Gagloeva, has
responded by saying that Saakashvili’s words were `misunderstood.’
`Mikheil Saakashvili’s words were not meant to offend the Armenian
Government. His speech was focused on specific events in the
region. The devaluation of the Armenian national currency, in our
opinion, has affected the Armenian economy generally. Saakashvili also
said that the Georgian economy is more defended [from the effects of
the global economic crisis] because Georgia does not have as high a
volume trade and economic relations with Russia as Armenia. So the
words of the Georgian President were not said to offend the Armenian
Government,’ Gagloeva stated.

The Georgian opposition slammed Saakashvili for the statement. The
Chairperson of the Democratic Movement`United Georgia and former close
ally of Saakashvili, Nino Burjanadze, said the Georgian President
should not give himself the right to make `incorrect and radical’
statements about the economic problems of other countries. `I am sorry
that the President of Georgia made such an incorrect comment about
neighbouring Armenia. Unfortunately it should be said that
Saakashvili’s incorrectness is not news for us, however it is worse
when it concerns statements addressed to neighbouring states rather
than statements about internal politics,’ Burjanadze noted.

The former Parliament Speaker said the Georgian Government should pay
more attention to internal economic problems. `After the August war
the country has got into a very difficult economic and political
situation, and due to the incapacity of the Government the threat of
the situation worsening is growing,’ Burjanadze stated. She said the
Georgian and Armenian people will be wise enough not to take any
notice of such `unwise’ statements.

On Thursday, at a meeting with Georgia’s Ambassador to Armenia Revaz
Gachechiladze, who is concluding his diplomatic mission in the
country, the Armenian President thanked him for his successful
cooperation and said `political dialogue [between the countries] has
been activated, economic relations have been broadened and cultural
ties have become stronger.’

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