Armenian President Meets Georgian Leaders in Tbilisi

Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan has made his first bilateral visit abroad after taking office in March to Tbilisi, where he met Georgian counterpart Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili.

The two Presidents on May 30 discussed the prospects to develop relations between the two countries, including in transport, communications and information technology, the Armenian Presidential administration reported. They also talked about security issues in the South Caucasus.

In a joint press briefing after the conversation, President Zurabishvili asserted that the South Caucasus “faces new challenges and opportunities. ”

“The ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine is a new challenge for everyone, as it violates all international norms and principles on which international order and the global security architecture are built,” she said.

The Georgian President also highlighted the “dire” situation in Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, adding that “the neglect of sovereignty and gross human rights abuses continue and intensify.”

But she said that “new opportunities for European integration for our country and for the Eastern Partnership region represent a very great chance.”

Also, President Zurabishvili stressed the role of the EU in talks between Yerevan and Baku, going on to assert that “the outcome of these negotiations lays the establishment of full peace in the region, economic development and all the new plans that affect the region and give it great prospects for the future.”

In the briefing, the Armenian President stressed that Yerevan puts “a great emphasis” on bolstering ties with Tbilisi, and stressed the importance of the recently frequent reciprocal visits of Georgian and Armenian officials.

Elaborating on discussions about cooperation in transport and communication, President Khachaturyan said the sides had talked about projects such as the Persian Gulf-International Transport corridors.

On May 31, the Georgian PM and Armenian President had a conversation about security in the South Caucasus, as well as bolstering bilateral ties in energy, transport and trade, the Georgian Government Administration’s press service reported.

In the meeting, PM Garibashvili also brought up his Peaceful Neighborhood Initiative, a proposed platform for confidence-building in the South Caucasus with the participation of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the U.S., and the EU.

Also on May 31, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili and President Khachaturyan touched upon current developments in the South Caucasus and discussed steps taken to establish regional peace and stability, the Parliament’s press service reported.

The Armenian President’s administration said that the sides highlighted both countries’ interest in establishing long-term, stable peace in the region.

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