AZG Armenian Daily #101, 03/06/2005



Traditions of Armenian-Georgian Relations Returning

"We want not only to preserve but also to cement all good traditions,
especially those traditions that CIS states enjoyed before gaining
independence. Every state is treating its political issues as Armenia and
Georgia do. Part of the CIS states is heading for European integration. We
think that we have many things in common to join Europe. I think that each
meeting is a step forward", Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margarian
evaluated the meeting of heads of CIS governments in Tbilisi.

Andranik Margarian met yesterday Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nugayideli
and parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze. The joint meeting of CIS government
leaders will take place today. Dozens of economic and political issues that
needed a closer look were discussed during the meetings with Georgia's
leadership. Parliament speaker of Georgia was particularly happy with the
agreement of prime ministers on reformulating Georgia's debt to Armenia.
Nino Burjanadze dwelt on as she said "the painful spot of Armenia: reopening
the Abkhaz railroad". "There are many uncertainties, but we have changed our
approach. We used to think of settling the Abkhaz conflict first and then
consider reopening of the railway. Now we want simultaneously to reopen the
railway and to find solution to the Abkhaz conflict".

The speaker was just back from Javakhk and named socio-economic problems of
the region with new enthusiasm. The first issue demanding urgent solution is
the issue of road network. Burjanadze also mentioned the absence of water
supply system in the region and said that they will try to solve the issue
at least in some areas of the region. Burjanadze emphasized that everything
that they will do for Javakhk is not in view of relations with Armenia but
because "Javakhk is our country and our homeland and we have to think of
social condition of the locals".

The speaker thinks that the hubbub over Armenian cultural monuments is
puffed up saying that "despite separate sad facts, that is likely to be a
provocation of forces that are displeased with Georgian-Armenian peaceful
relations". Nino Burjanadze did not say what "forces" she meant, saying that
she leaves it for journalists' analysis.

The important achievement of Armenian Prime Minister's visit is that the
sides agreed on building Armenia-Georgia high-voltage electric power line
that requires $10 million. Thanks to it Georgia will get 1.5 times more
electricity. Georgian minister of energetics will head a delegation to
Armenia in near future to discuss the matter. The electric power line is
scheduled to be exploited by the end of the current year.

Georgia shows signs of being interested in construction of Armenia-Iran gas
pipeline. But its unlikely that Georgia can join the project at the moment
as the first stage is set to satisfy Armenia's inner demand. "Today it's not
economically beneficent for us to build a pipeline with a greater diameter.
This line is supposed to serve 'Nairit' and chemical plant of Vanadzor. But
we do not exclude that the second line may be built in future", Armenian PM
answered to Georgian expectations.

As a result of Georgian visit, a special group will discuss the new
socio-economic project for Javakhk. Armenia will take part not only in
implementation but also preparation phase of the project. "This can be
considered a huge progress. Georgian side always talked about it but never
took practical steps. We'll try to advance this year". Andranik Margarian

The joint Armenian-Georgian group will work in Javakhk in July and August.

By Karine Danielian