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Sargsyan to bill Saakashvili for electricity, gas and Javakh24.01.2011 | 20:53
Preparation of Mikheil Saakashvili's official visit to Armenia has evidently become one of the most trying tests for Georgian diplomacy these latter days. Yerevan and Tbilisi's relationship may be called much heated, if not red-hot, so Sargsyan and Saakashvili have gota lot to talk about. The confrontation between the two countries' political elites basically originates in Georgia's unreasonable policy. The possible details of negotiations between the two leaders were discussed by GeorgiaTimes correspondent with Director of Institute of Political and Social Research of the Black and Caspian Region Vladimir Zakharov.
Mikheil Saakashvili's visit to Armenia is said to be provoked by the recent "brand" scandal. The media started accusing Armenian businessmen of the shameless use of the famous masterpieces of the Georgian cuisine and winemaking. It was reported that for some reason, khachapuri and Saperavi were assigned Armenian origin by European supermarkets. Business communities and politicians of the two countries even exchanged rather aggressive pricks on the matter.
However, a well-known Russian political expert Vladimir Zakharov is sure that the presidents of Armenia and Georgia will leave this "cuisine duel" aside. "The people of the Caucasus have got cuisines that are very much alike; they all cook the same khachapuri, only they call it differently. There are similar recipes in Azerbaijani, Georgian and Armenian cuisines with the slightly different ingredients and different names. Neither Saakashvili, nor Sargsyan are going to make a scandal of it; the whole thing is not worth a pin. Armenia and Georgia have got rather complicated relations without this problem", - he said in his interview to GeorgiaTimes correspondent.
In the opinion of Vladimir Zakharov, much more attention during the Georgian-Armenian negotiations will be paid to the issue of energy and resource transit. It should be noted that there has been a small confusion between Tbilisi and Yerevan in this field which originated in Georgian PM Nika Gilauri's unguarded speech where he praised his country as one of the major energy suppliers, for Armenia as well. The statement made by the head of the Georgian Cabinet was immediately refuted by Armenian Ministry of Energy. It was underlined that the two countries were just carrying out a short-time experiment on exchanging electrical power, which can in no way be called large-scale trade.
This viewpoint is shared by Vladimir Zakharov. "Armenia has got its own atomic power station producing enough electric energy to be exported by Armenia. Thus, Yerevan does not seem to bother much about who said what in Georgia. Another point is that a Russian pipeline is running through the Georgian territory to Armenia carrying gas. Its sale is being negotiated, with Azerbaijan as well", - the expert underlined.
He says Armenia is apprehensive about selling the Georgian pipe section to Azerbaijan for good reason and the issue will undoubtedly be raised at Saakashvili and Sargsyan's negotiations. "If the pipeline turns out to be bought out by the Azerbaijani party, they will simply start twisting Yerevan's arms. For instance, they will arrange repair works at some section. Even a one-week interruption in gas supply is a real catastrophe. That's why the issue of gas supplies via the Georgian territory is so important for Armenia", - Vladimir Zakharov underlined.
In the political expert's opinion, another important point in the negotiations of the Georgian and Armenian presidents is the issue of Javakh's status, especially in the light of the repeatedly made demands made by regional representatives about granting the rights of autonomy. Vladimir Zakharov reminded that the local Armenian population is openly pressed by official authorities.
"The residents of the region are presently facing a not very pleasant situation, to put it mildly. Any public movements are cut short under a pretext of accusing Georgian Armenians of nationalism and separatism. Georgia constantly devises some unreal things about political and public leaders of the region, accusing them of something that they never did and that never happened. I guess Serge Sargsyan has got a lot to say to Mikheil Saakashvili on the matter", - Vladimir Zakharov believes.