YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–On Wednesday–Georgia’s President Edward Shevardnadze met with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian–who arrived in Georgia on a two-day visit.
During the meeting Edward Shevardnadze expressed satisfaction with the present state of relations between the two countries. He stressed the importance of further development of Georgia-Armenia relations–noting that the two nations have necessary potential for cooperation. The two described the relations between the two countries as strategic and expressed readines to promote them.
The Georgian president stressed the necessity of efficient cooperation in transport–communications–energy and culture–simultaneously noting the importance of elaboration and implementation of coordinated financial–tax and customs policies.
Commenting on a recent incident in Akhalkalak (an Armenian populated region within Georgia)–Shevardnadze voiced confidence that the local population (the Armenia’s) were not the initiators of the incident and that the incident was not premeditated. Highly appreciating the role of Armenia’s in the economic and cultural life of the country–president Shevardnadze confirmed his readiness to improve social conditions in Georgia’s regions populated by Armenia’s.
The sides also discussed the participation of the two countries in regional cooperation programs–in particular TACIS’s TRACECA Program. The implementation of such programs was said to be an important factor of ensuring peace and stability in the region. President Shevardnadze praised the Armenian government’s decision to attend a forum scheduled for September in Baku.
The sides also stressed the necessity of taking coordinated steps towards cooperation within international organizations–in particular towards integration into European structures. Shevardnadze once again invited President Robert Kocharian to visit Tbilisi.
On the same day Armenia’s Foreign Minister met with his Georgian counterpart–Foreign Minister Irakly Menagarishvili to discuss issues of bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation and participation of countries in regional programs.
The parties noted the importance of the upcoming meeting of a joint Armenian-Georgian intergovernmental commission–which will address the whole range of economic relations. Vardan Oskanian also passed the Armenian Prime Minister Armen Darbinian’s invitation to Georgian Prime Minister Vazha Lordkipanidze.
After the meeting the two Foreign Ministers signed a joint statement–whereby the sides expressed their readiness to develop and boost partnership on all strategic directions–promote further development of mutually-advantageous economic relations–hold consultations on regional and international security–and advance political cooperation and economic cooperation. Under the statement–the sides agreed to promote political–peaceful settlemen’s to conflicts in the region.
Oskanyan said after talks with Menagarishvili that his country attaches "special significance to the development of mutually advantageous cooperation with Georgia and thinks that Georgia is a strategic partner of our country." Oskanyan also said that–"Georgia can play a big role in establishing good- neighborly relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia has already done a lot in this direction," he added.
On Thursday–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian–also met with the Georgian Parliament Speaker Zurab Zhvania.
The sides expressed satisfaction with the current state of interparliamentary relations and stressed the importance of the interparliamentary cooperation commission’s activities.
Armenia’s Foreign Minister said that Armenia was ready to participate in regional cooperation programs. Oskanian also briefed Zurab Zhvania on the present state of the Karabakh conflict.
In connection with the recent incident in Akhalkalk Georgia’s Parliament Chairman Zurab Zhvania said that he regretted that some of the Georgian mass media made inaccuracies when covering the incident. The sides agreed to cooperate in case of such incidents.