Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Giorgi Margvelashvili, December 25, 2017. Photo: president.gov.ge
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan paid an official visit to Tbilisi on December 25-26, and met his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze.
The Armenian President’s visit comes a week after Tbilisi signed a contract with Geneva-based testing and inspection company - SGS - on Georgia-Russia trade monitoring, which Yerevan hopes will pave the way for diversifying its cargo transportation routes through Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili was the first to meet Serzh Sargsyan.
Following their face-to-face talks on December 25, and a meeting in extended composition, the two Presidents held a joint press briefing, with President Margvelashvilli telling his counterpart that the visits of Armenian officials were “always very important.”
“We discussed issues of regional stability and development, and agreed that all difficult questions need to be resolved within international law and through negotiations,” President Giorgi Margvelashvili said, adding that the two leaders also spoke on projects that “should bring more economic benefits and more stability to the region.”
Margvelashvili also noted that the Georgian and Armenian leaders touched upon their countries’ “strategic engagement” with the European Union and the Eurasian Union, respectively, and underlined that both countries managed “to avoid weakening of economic cooperation between the two nations” in light of their growing relations within the organizations.
President Sargsyan said in his remarks that that the two Presidents focused on “deepening the existing cooperation in the important areas of energy and transport, including on developing the transit capacity of our countries and the opportunities for its effective use.”
According to the Armenian President, the two leaders spoke on regional security as well, highlighting “the importance of a balanced and constructive approach to sensitive issues.” “We agreed that a comprehensive and long-term settlement of conflicts is possible only through peaceful means within the framework of agreed formats and only through negotiations,” he added.
On December 26, President Sargsyan met with Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II, and visited an Armenian community center and an Armenian church. From Tbilisi, President Serzh Sargsyan travelled to Moscow, where will take part in the meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States leaders.
Armenia is one of the leading trade partners for Georgia, according to the State Statistics Office, Geostat. Georgia’s trade turnover with Armenia stood at USD 367.6 million in 2016, with exports at USD 150.8 million (USD 180.1 million in 2015) and imports at USD 216.8 million (USD 175 million in 2015).