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Between two problems

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 5
President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has found himself in an awkward situation since he initiated the Caucasus reunion idea. Due to the confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan it is impossible to hold dialogue in a trilateral format. Therefore Saakashvili operates in a bilateral format. Sometimes he asserts Georgia's great links with Armenia, sometimes with Azerbaijan. Accordingly he is under pressure, sometimes from Azerbaijan and sometimes from Armenia.

Any step in one direction attracts criticism from the other side and vise versa.

Lately the Georgian president highlighted Georgia's unity with Azerbaijan. This resulted in a storm of criticism from Armenia. In his interview to magazine 'The Business Year – Azerbaijan 2011’ special issue the Georgian president stressed upon the fact that both Georgia and Azerbaijan have territorial problems and that opponents of Azerbaijan and Georgia are enemies of both of the countries. 'Our strength is in unity', he mentioned. He also underlined the importance of strategic partnership of both countries, expressing his hope that good relations and unity between the two countries are a precondition of further success and a better future. Saakashvili highlighted the importance of joint projects, in particular the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railways calling this project a modern version of the so called Silk Road. He also mentioned that there are no problems between countries. Not surprisingly what was liked by Azerbaijan was disliked by Armenia. Some Armenian organizations demanded a public explanation from the Georgian President. Saakashvili’s words were interpreted as declaring Armenia as Georgia's enemy and it was suggested that Georgia could face problems because of its president’s position.

The Armenian diaspora in Russia became particularly active in this direction. They started releasing information that Armenians in Georgia have problems, that Georgia deliberately delays transportation of Armenian transit cargo through Georgia, that Georgia participates in anti Armenian economic projects and that it supports anti Armenian resolutions on an international level proposed by Azerbaijan. The Armenian diaspora in Russia states that if Saakashvili does not give a public explanation for his position, those in the Georgian population of Armenian origin would be recommended to protest and boycott the 2012 parliamentary and 2013 presidential elections.

Of course one does not have to be a local expert to understand that behind the Armenian diaspora in Russia there is the persuasive hand of the Kremlin supported Russian special services which is trying to provoke Georgian-Armenian tension in the region. But one thing is certain, statements and declarations of this type should be made more consciously considering all the possible outcomes, developments and consequences.