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President Zourabichvili: Regional Stability and Peace Are Preconditions for Georgia’s and Armenia’s Development

President Salome Zourabichvili and President Armen Sarkissian held a joint press conference in Yerevan.

President Zourabichvili highlighted the vital importance of stability and peace for the region. She invited President Sarkissian to Georgia to attend the Batumi Conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.

“I am very glad not only of this visit, but also of the conversation that I had with President Sarkissian. We discussed many topics. We are not only neighbors, but also friends. We live in one region for which stability and peace are decisive. Stability and peace are necessary preconditions for further developing our economies and our economic cooperation.

We face many challenges in the region; we should realize that the only way to overcome these challenges and solve these conflicts that impede our development is a peaceful way that will be based on international legal norms. This is a subject to negotiations and dialogue - this is our strong faith.

Also, it is worth mentioning, that it is especially important for Georgia existing regional conflicts not to be spread on the Georgian territories. It is crucial for us ethnic Armenian and Azeri people residing in Georgia to live peacefully in our country and be fully integrated into the country's economics, politics, and cultural life.

In this regard, I believe that as a president I personally have a responsibility to do more for the Georgian citizens of Armenian origin; I have to do more to make Georgian language more accessible to them; they should have more opportunities to become active participants of Georgia’s economic and cultural development.

We thoroughly discussed the potential of our region.

We also talked about my recent visits to the European Union and Georgia's aspirations toward the EU. The Batumi Conference will be one of the crucial stages of Georgia-EU relations. I invited Mr. President to attend the Conference where we plan to present our views on our new stage of relations with the EU that will lead to our eventual integration. On this path, it is very important to cooperate with today’s Armenia and listen to its views at the conference.

Active economic cooperation between our countries is necessary be it in tourism, new technologies, energy, or the transport infrastructure that can be extended to Armenia. We have huge plans with the EU and not only with the EU.

The time has come to end the delimitation of our state border; this process should not last so long between two friendly and neighborly countries. We should agree on giving a new impetus to the Commission and return to the agreement that was practically reached in the past when I was the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  We should work in this direction and finalize this agreement.

We have a great future. We are vigorous optimists. We are going to continue to discuss a lot of issues and not just on the level of statements, but actually present our views.

We both have the right of initiative, speech, and advice, and through exercising this right we can influence not only our societies, but also executive and legislative authorities to develop relations that are all-encompassing and beneficial for the future.

I will not end my address without mentioning culture, the area in which our relations are at the level appropriate for two friendly and neighborly countries. We should be very actively collaborating to further develop this area of cooperation,” President Zourabichvili said.

President Sarkissian accepted President Zourabichvili’s invitation to Georgia, highlighting that developing exceptional relations with Georgia is one of the top priorities of Armenia’s political agenda. This is evidenced by the recent high-level meetings and achieved agreements between Georgia and Armenia, President Sarkissian said.

“I would assess negotiations with my Georgian colleague, Madam President, as productive. These negotiations touched upon topics of mutual interest and agenda.

Armenia is eager to establish, protect, and maintain the atmosphere of peace, security, and cooperation in the region. My Georgian colleague and I share the same view on the solutions to regional conflicts. We think that problems and conflicts and their solutions are not the same; however, I strongly believe that a solution should be found only in a peaceful way, in accordance with international law and norms and in case of Artsakh – respecting the right to self-determination.

We also discussed the prospects for implementing joint projects in transportation, tourism, new technologies, agriculture, and other key areas.

We attach great importance to implementing energy and logistics projects in the South Caucasus to ensure regional security, sustainability, and development. We also attach great importance to cooperation in education, culture, and those activities that aim at cultural heritage protection.

We are sure that our joint efforts in this direction will be effective.

Finally, let me once again affirm our faith in our joint efforts through which we will be able to further enhance Georgia-Armenia friendly relations.

Once again, it was a pleasure to meet you, Madam President, and I am glad to accept your invitation to Georgia,” President Sarkissian said.
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