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Armenian PM pays an official visit to Georgia

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, September 10
The Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan arrived in Tbilisi on September 8 for a 2-day official visit, during which he held meetings with PM Irakli Gharibashvili - both, face-to-face and extended format meetings as well as with President Salome Zurabishvili who hosted him at Orbelian Palace. During the visit, the PM of Armenia, together with the members of the delegation, laid a wreath at the Heroes' Square who died in the battle for the unity of Georgia.

In a joint press conference of PMs, officials discussed the security environment in the South Caucasus and stressed the need for the peaceful development of the region. In his address, the Georgian PM named Pashinyan’s re-election in June ‘an opportunity for Armenia to begin a new era.’ He asserted that after getting to know the Armenian PM’s vision, he believes that the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a difficult challenge for the region’ can lead to new possibilities.

The Georgian and Armenian PMs have pledged in Tbilisi to intensify ties and cooperation to create new opportunities which will decrease tension and risks of conflicts in the region. They also highlighted the importance of utilizing regional economic and transit opportunities and enhancing cooperation.

Gharibashvili stated that stability in Armenia is crucial for Georgia and regional peace.

“The Karabakh war was certainly a real challenge for our region, but now that I know what Mr. PM's new vision is, I believe that this challenge will be transformed into a new opportunity. An opportunity that will bring prosperity to Armenia and the Armenian people. I would also like to say that the stability of Armenia is very important for us, both politically and economically, and it is directly related to the stability of our country and the region in general.” Gharibashvili said.

“Peace, stability, and prosperity are the 3 words I would use to describe our joint regional goals,” the Georgian PM said at a press conference with Pashinyan. He emphasized that Pashinyan’s vision is for the sustainable development of Armenia and that ‘he will bring success and development’ to the Armenian people’.

According to the Georgian PM, joint efforts should be targeted for ensuring new opportunities, development, and peace for the region. He said that economic, trade, transport, communication, and connectivity issues, as well as the possibility of large projects, have been discussed with Pashinyan.

Pashinyan thanked Garibashvili ‘for his personal contribution’ for the recent release of 15 Armenian war prisoners held in Azerbaijan and stated that the communication at that time ‘created an even better atmosphere in the 2 countries' friendly relations. He described Georgia’s mediation efforts in June as a new foundation for facilitating more productive cooperation, adding that collaboration will continue after the new Armenian government is formed.

“Unfortunately, there are conflicts and tension in our region. We are trying to support each other and focus on the opportunities which will decrease the risks,” Pashinyan said.

He stated that since the formation of the new government in Armenia, intergovernmental cooperation between the countries will become more intense. Pashinyan also expressed hope that economic ties between the countries would be further strengthened.

He stated that the Georgian and Armenian peoples are linked by a centuries-long friendship. He also spoke about the cooperation in the field of health in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic, in particular, the cooperation of specialists.

Pashinyan also presented the proposals on regional issues and solutions that have emerged in the Armenian government program and their ideas to his Georgian counterpart.

The Armenian PM stressed the existence of a large Armenian diaspora in Georgia and said that ethnic Armenians living in Georgia will continue to contribute to the unity of Georgia and will be important actors in its development. He also thanked the government for promoting the preservation and development of the identity of Armenian citizens in Georgia.

Georgia was the first country that Pashinyan paid an official visit to on May 11, 2018, a few days after his first election as PM of Armenia. The second official visit of Pashinyan to Georgia took place on March 3-4, 2020. During the first and second official visits, he was hosted by the then PMs of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and Giorgi Gakharia. The current PM Gharibashvili paid an official visit to Armenia in May 2021.

Pashinyan resigned as PM of Armenia on April 25, 2021, preceded by a crisis over a peace agreement signed with Azerbaijan. The opposition accused him of capitulation and betrayal of state interests and demanded his resignation in November 2020, when Russia and Armenia mediated an agreement to end hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh and deploy a Russian peacekeeping contingent there. With this document, several districts lost in the ’90s were returned to Azerbaijan. Pashinyan's party won a landslide victory in a snap election on June 20, 2021, following the resignation of the PM, and the newly convened parliament re-elected him as Prime Minister.