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Georgia to give gas pipeline to Azerbaijan?2011-01-25 23:08
Mikheil Saakashvili's state visit to Armenia went on in a warm and friendly atmosphere, as they used to put it in Soviet times. Georgian leader underlined that there are no outstanding or complicated problems in the two countries' relationship. He said he talked to his Armenian counterpart only about the possible unification of the two states' economies. However, in this cloudless communication the watchful experts saw Saakasvhili's determination to avoid a compromise with Armenians in one of the most delicate issues of bilateral relationship, the future of the North-South gas pipeline.
Mishiko was complacent and nonchalant. According to him, the main problem between Tbilisi in Yerevan is the bureaucratic routine at the crossing of the Armenian-Georgian border.
"We must do a lot after this meeting. We have to make every effort to make our boundaries open. Cars should cross the boundary almost without stopping. On Georgia's side, the border may be crossed in two or three minutes but the same rules are to be established by the Armenian side. It requires information exchange and setting up a single database to enhance the procedure on both sides, - the high guest from Tbilisi went on in the capital of Armenia. - We've got very small countries so we depend on each other and should work in this direction".
In the analysts' opinion, such serenity in the two leaders' communication means that Tbilisi does not think it necessary to ask the Armenian government for an opinion on the most complicated problems in bilateral relationship. One of such problems is the notorious North-South pipeline carrying gas from Russia to Armenia which was removed from the list of strategic objects not subject to privatization last year. There is no doubt this pipeline section will be sold.
"Generally speaking, Georgia is interested in selling the project. I am strongly opposed to it, for Georgia will anyway lose control of it as soon as it is sold, which may put the pipeline in Russia's hands. However, I am sure that the sale is purely commercial and if it is sold it will be sold to someone who offers more beneficial terms", - Georgian expert Paata Zakareishvili told Armenian media.
However, such scenario is hardly possible. Saakashvili's silence about the pipeline sale during his meeting with Serge Sargsyan who could act as a middleman between Tbilisi and Moscow means that Russia's chances in the bargaining approach zero. It looks like the Armenians' nightmare is coming true and the strategic pipeline will come into Azerbaijan's possession. This fact is confirmed by Georgia's growing independence on eastern oil.