Armenian President Armen Sarkissian arrived in Tbilisi with his delegation in the afternoon of April 15 as part of a two-day working visit to Georgia. President Sarkissian already met with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who hosted a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
At the joint press conference after the meeting, President Zurabishvili said while the effects of the coronavirus pandemic were detrimental to states in the Caucasus, “the casualties caused by the war were much greater for the region,” and for Armenia. She stressed that Georgia stood on the side of peace during and after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
President Zurabishvili recalled that Georgia offered a platform to Baku and Yerevan for dialogue, adding that the “offer remains in force at any time.” She also highlighted the importance of the EU’s involvement in the region for settling the conflict, and for the implementation of future infrastructure plans through the Eastern Partnership platform.
According to the Georgian President, she briefed her Armenian colleague on situation in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, including “borderization,” illegal detentions, human rights violations, as well as aggravated humanitarian situation.
“Any conflict in the region affects the whole region, so peace and cooperation are without alternative to the development of the Caucasus,” President Zurabishvili asserted.
She also said the two leaders discussed the recent “alarming” developments in Ukraine, adding that “escalation and destabilization threaten the Black Sea region and not only.”
President Sarkissian on his part noted that the sides discussed bilateral cooperation, deepening business ties, regional security, and “the new reality” in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian President stressed that it is impossible to establish lasting peace in the region without a just solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh question, including through the resumption of the peace process within the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
The Armenian leader outlined the need to address humanitarian problems arising from the Nagorno-Karabakh war, including the immediate release of all captives and hostages held by Azerbaijan. He accused Baku of provoking xenophobia, and pursuing the policy of insulting the Armenian national dignity, which he said undermine the prospect for dialogue.
President Sarkissian is also expected to meet with Georgian Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze and Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II as part of his visit to the Georgian capital.