Does Armenia find it boring and unprofitable to live in peace with Georgia? Trend News commentator
Trend European Desk Commentator Elmira Tariverdiyeva
Lately there has been an impression that Yerevan finds living in peace, with the relative majority of its neighbors, boring. But taking a look at the future, it is unprofitable for Armenia to maintain friendly relations with some countries, namely Georgia.
No sooner had the world community managed to discuss Turkey's intention to improve relations with Armenia, when a new topic for discussion rose up, on the Georgian region of Javakheti, bordering Armenia and compactly populated with Armenians.
In early September, during a meeting with representatives of the Central Office of the Armenian Foreign Ministry and the Armenian Diplomatic Corps, the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said that Armenia's leadership must make every possible effort to support the Armenians living in Georgia, ARMENIA Today said.
Sargsyan said that Yerevan wants the Georgian leadership to give Armenian the status of regional language in the Georgian region of Javakheti.. Moreover, Armenia is willing to provide a diocese of the Armenian Church operating in Georgia with formal registration and the proper protection of Armenian monuments in Georgia, which amount to over 600, according to their sources.
Such proposals from their neighbors have caused a negative reaction in Georgia, a country which has not fully recovered after consequences of the August war and the occupation of its two regions.
Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Timur Yakobashvili, commented on Sargsyan's statement. "Let Armenia deal with the spread of the Armenian language in its own country," he said.
Georgia's sharp denial of Sargsyan's initiatives is well-founded. For many years Armenia has emphatically raised the issue concerning the difficult situation of the Armenian population in Javakheti.
Nothing happens just like that, and political leaders are unlikely to declare such serious willing without expecting for the effect. Intensification of Armenia's claims towards Georgian leadership is Yerevan's first step in requesting autonomy form Georgia, and in the future ... who knows.
Moreover, Sargsyan's words may confuse many Georgian citizens. Even if Tbilisi were to give up and fulfill all Armenian requirements, the same requirements could be made to Georgia concerning territories compactly populated by other ethnic minorities (such as Azerbaijanis). Their number is no less than the Armenians.
Why does Armenia spite Georgia so intentionally, after she has had such a hard time? One can answer this question by thinking about the possible scenario of future events. The Nagorno-Karabakh settlement is progressing, and it is possible to solve, sooner or later. Then Armenia, deprived of the economic benefits from this geographical location it had for such a long period, would find a completely logical and stable alternative in Georgia having internal problems.
Possible opening of Armenian-Turkish border has made observers think Georgia is losing its importance as a transit country for the United States and Europe.
According to U.S agency Bloomberg, Armenia may replace Georgia as a transit country because of Georgia's increasing political instability. The Turkish Daily Star, which News.am agency cites, reported with reference to sources that Turkey too may support Armenian joining the Nabucco project amid improved relations between the two countries. This would be beneficial to the EU, which would prefer Armenia as a transit country over Georgia.
The safety of these projects is still the most important thing for all investors of transit projects through Caucasian countries, whether the railway route from Azerbaijan to Kars, or the pipeline, ensuring to divert Azerbaijani fuel to Europe. Armenia will meet all requirements of western investors as a transit country, once the borders with Turkey are opened and the agreement with Azerbaijan is reached.
The Armenian President's statements must not be underestimated. Tbilisi will make a big mistake if, as before, it does not give due importance to current events. "As it is known, the conflicts have traditionally begun with rather local arguments. First, they begin with sharp protest from leaders, indignant about the marginalized situation of compatriots in a neighboring country, then a war of words in the media and incidents at the border," the independent Georgian expert, Zaal Anjaparidze, said in an article published by ARMENIA Today.
Perhaps, it is now necessary for Georgia to recall those sad experiences of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at [email protected]