Georgia-Armenia: course without changes

Georgia-Armenia: course without changes

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 18 / Trend /

Trend commentator Elmira Tariverdiyeva

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's visit to Armenia has proved a simple truth: Georgia will not fundamentally change the geo-strategic balance in the region. Relations with neighboring countries will be the same as they were under Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

And there is a reason. It would be dangerous for small Georgia which has territorial problems, to abandon the economic stability that has been achieved mainly through its strategic partnership with Azerbaijan.

Moreover, recent developments in Armenian-Georgian relations have not been pretty and existing gaps with its neighbor will not disappear with the arrival of a new governement. Even Armenian observers seem to understand this.

"Armenian-Georgian relations leave much to be desired: there are many unresolved issues in the economic and cultural spheres", Georgia expert Haykazun Alvrtsyan said at a press conference. "Moreover, this country is developing strategic relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan."

For example, the issue of restoring the activity of the Abkhazian section of the railway can only be considered as a desire of the Prime Minister, not one of his future plans.

In late October 2012, the new State Minister for Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili said that Georgian authorities are ready to restore railway links with Russia through the Abkhaz section of the Georgian railway as a part of the 'strategy to de-isolate Abkhazia'. However, he said that within a month" the issue was almost immediately closed after Abkhazia failed to show interest".

In such a situation it becomes clear that Ivanishvili's statement conveying that resuming traffic on the Abkhazian railway is possible with the consent of all interested parties is just speculation. Ivanishvili is well aware that the railway's passage through separatist Abkhazia is out of the question without firstly addressing issues with Russia on Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This would mean an indirect recognition of the independence of these areas of Georgia by Tbilisi. Georgian politicians would never agree with this.

As for other issues that exist between Georgia and Armenia, they appear to be complex. For Armenia, the Georgian region of Samtskhe-Javakheti will always be an eternal cause for resentment and allegations about non-observance of the rights of its Armenian residents, as the country believes that these territories are native Armenian lands. Neither Ivanishvili, nor any other politician can help Armenians on this issue, as one of the demands of the Javakheti Armenians is assigning Armenian as a state language and granting autonomy to the region. Georgia, facing territorial integrity problems and standing witness to the Nagorno-Karabakh situation will never agree to this.

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