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The New Realities in the Armenian-Georgian Relations

The two-day visit of the President of Armenia to Tbilisi at the end of October, once again confirmed the fact that the Armenian-Georgian relations have entered a new level. It becomes  obvious form the agenda of bilateral meetings as well as  from the regular mutual visits.

It can be argued, that Yerevan and Tbilisi are looking for common interests in various fields; the ones that can completely reflect the proclaimed friendly nature of the relationship in the bilateral cooperation. An example of common interest is the fact that Georgia and Armenia at the highest level have stated that the difference in the integration vectors of the two countries cannot interfere with their relations. Moreover, it brings new opportunities in terms of strengthening and deepening bilateral cooperation.

If we try to present the Armenian-Georgian common agenda, based on discussions at  different levels during the meetings, we can highlight the following common components: transport, energy, cultural and educational cooperation, the Armenian community of Georgia, and the security of the South Caucasus. It should be noted that the overall agenda is very sensitive with respect to the geopolitical and regional processes.

As for the visit of Armenian President to Georgia it is necessary to stress the importance of  the meeting with former Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili - a leader of the ruling party "Georgian Dream", which still has a very large impact on the Cabinet. It is quite possible that the meeting will become an additional impetus to strengthening Armenian-Georgian bilateral cooperation. This expectation is based on the fact that during Ivanishvili’s rule Georgia began to run more balanced regional policy. It was significantly different from the policy of Saakashvili's team, which in many areas was of anti-Armenian character.

A clear evidence of that balanced approach was its constructive approach to the highly sensitive topic of the Armenian-Georgian relations - a controversial cultural heritage. Ivanishvili even made a financial contribution to the project of reconstruction of the Armenian Church of St. Gevorg in Tbilisi. Bidzina Ivanishvili and Serzh Sargsyan together attended the consecration ceremony of the reconstructed church. This project can be called unique: it has become a good example of effective cooperation between the Armenia and the Georgia; the one that can become a precedent.

Another interesting fact is that another sphere is being outlined, where Armenian and Georgian interests can intersect. This is the diversification of the sources for gas imports. In this context, the Georgian side is considering the possibility of purchasing gas from the Russian company "Gazprom". The diversification of gas sources in Georgia is in the interests of Armenia, as it will limit the monopolistic position of Azerbaijan in this sphere  thus weakening the influence of the Baku on Tbilisi. Moreover, Armenia has huge motivation, as Georgia is also considering the possibility of importing Iranian gas via Armenia. The implementation of such a project on the one hand will increase the transit role of Armenia in the region, on the other hand will be a balancing factor in the Armenian-Georgian relations, becoming also a new impetus to their further development.

Taking into account the importance of this issue, as well as the motivation of the Armenian side, we can suppose that Georgia’s energy diversification was one of the key issues in the agenda of the meeting of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili. This is evidenced by the fact that two days after the president's visit, Minister of Energy of Armenia Yervand Zakharyan and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy Kakha Kaladze in Tbilisi, discussed the possible prospects of the Armenian-Georgian energy cooperation, including the possibility of transit of Iranian gas through the territory of Armenia.

To sum up, we can say that the current process shows that Yerevan and Tbilisi are passing from the so called “toast friendship” to the practical partnership, which will realize the entire potential of bilateral relations.


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