Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Sat Jun 17 13:38:16 UTC 2006

>>From AZG Armenian Daily #112, 17/06/2006



Experts Discuss

The seminar on prospects of Armenian-Georgian relations organized by the
Spectrum Center for Strategic Analysis and supported by the Friedrich
Ebert Foundation had one main approach - not to harm Armenian-Georgian
relations as much as possible. Georgian ambassador to Armenia, Revaz
Gachechiladze, welcomed all participants saying that Armenian-Georgian
relations are very important in terms of regional stability. Meanwhile, he
stated that new problems in bilateral relations are reducing with time.
Senior expert at the Georgian center for Development and Cooperation,
Paata Zakareishvili, thinks that while discussing Armenian-Georgian
relations one should first of all consider different vectors in both
states foreign policy. The less differences, the fewer problems in
Armenian-Georgian relations, the expert said.

Paata Zakareishvili thinks that if Georgia is declared to conduct a
pro-American policy than in Armenias case it is not pro-Russian but a
forced pragmatic policy. In taking decisions Armenia considers Nagorno
Karabakh issue, but Georgia creates a hostile image of Russia and takes
steps based on this assumption; also the countrys authorities are young
and have not necessary experience to establish priorities. Speaking about
Javakhk the Georgian expert said: "This issue is more fuming than
burning." The issue of churches, for one, should not be that overrated;
let the historians deal with it. In effect, viewing such a vital for the
Armenians issue out of the public context, Mr. Zakareishvili stated that
our peoples were strong enough to preserve their culture and history.

His approach to the Armenians of Javakhk is somewhat different. Mr.
Zakareishvili is not scared by the statements about autonomy, he simply
regrets that such issues are not discussed in Tbilisi where they listened
to. As to the possible return of Meskhet Turks to Javakhk, the Georgian
expert said that the states authorities understand this is a risky step.
The language issue remains topical but in this issue too the local
population should work in concert with the authorities to integrate into
public life. Paata Zakareishvili thinks that everything that was possible
to spoil in Armenian-Georgian relations has been already spoiled. Gayane
Novikova, head of the Spectrum Center for Strategic Analysis, agreed to
this idea.  Considering the Armenian-Georgian relations generally
outlined, she emphasized that there are few negative moments in these
relations. Gayane Novikova thinks that problems arise also because of
discrepancy in economic interests of Armenia and Georgia and as a
consequence participation in different regional projects. Meanwhile, In
her words, our countries do not properly use the chance to integrate into
the Euro-Atlantic structures.

However, the experts preferred to round off on optimistic note saying that
its time put in order Armenian-Georgian relations and settle issues on the
agenda. But, in Georgian experts words, as the experts do not have much
influence on politics, we can only wait for the Armenian and Georgian
authorities to sit at a table in such optimistic mood and meet the

By Aghavni Harutyunian


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