Noyan Tapan
Se p 19, 2008

South Caucasian countries, economic cooperation is an unachievable
and unfounded dream which is presented with the aim of deceiving these
countries. This was the opinion of the former president of Lithuania,
speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, deputy of the European Parliament
Vytautas Landsbergis. He voiced that opinion during discussions of
EU-South Caucasus panel at the European Economic Forum held in the
Polish city of Krynica on September 10-13. Noyan Tapan was informed by
the chairman of the Forum of Armenian Unions of Europe Ashot Grigorian
who participated in the forum that the general idea of V. Landsbergis'
speech was the following: "Forget your dreams of cooperating with each
other, think about getting rid of your only evil - Russia, find some
way of forcing Russia out of the Caucasus and thus you will solve
your vital problems."

In his speech A. Grigorian opposed this proposal by making another
proposal: "In today's new geopolitical situation when all the neighbors
in the region present non-standard approaches, and unexpected and
improbable ideas (for example, Turkey's science-fiction idea of
creating a Russia-Georgia-Turkey-Armenia-Azerbaijan pact), the five
South Caucasian states: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and
South Ossetia should display political will and think about creating
a South Caucasian confederation in the future."

According to A. Grigorian, he put forward this idea to EU
representatives for working with the South Caucasian Five on the
issue of EU membership and speeding up the process of their joining
the EU. In his words, it is assumed that after entering the EU the
internal boders of the confederation will become almost symbolic,
and the peoples' psychological complexes related to territorial
integrity and territorial claims will be overcome. "As the first
step I declared that I am ready to apply to the Slovak government
and the EU with the proposal to found a South Caucasus Institute in
Bratislava and I asked the representatives of Azerbaijan and Georgia
to inform their authorities about my proposal. I also spoke about my
opportunities to develop and implement an economic investment program
with the financing of the Slovak Republic and the EU: the point is
that we already launched such an investment program in Armenia and
Artskah, and if necessary, such work can be done throughout the South
Caucasus without any serious difficulties," A. Grigorian noted.

In his words, his proposal to create a confederation got immediate
responses of the deputy of Slovak National Council Eduard Kukan,
the chairman of Georgian parliament's regional policy committee
Vano Khukhunaishvili, the director general of SIGMA international
cooperation research center Rasim Ramazanov (Azerbaijan), the head
of International Alert Center Oscar Pentikayne (Finland) and others.

The Polish deputy minister of economy Marcin Korolec in his turn
suggested working out an Armenia-Georgia economic investment program
under the patronage of the EU and the World Trade Organization with
the aim of creating a free economic zone or a regional structure with
such characteristics.

Thus, in the opinion of the chairman of the Forum of Armenian Unions
of Europe Ashot Grigorian, if the proposals voiced at the European
Economic Forum are fulfilled, it will be possible to begin implementing
a general regional investment program under the aegis of EU and some of
its member states in the near future, in parallel developing the trends
to form a common political platform. "In case of reaching an agreement
with Russia and EU on formation of a South Caucasian confederation and
receiving their help, the idea does not seem premature today, quite
the opposite, it is perhaps the only realistic way of solving regional
problems, and this idea is worth considering today," A. Grigorian said.