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Rumors over Armenian President's Sudden Change of Plan

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 26
All of a sudden, officials in Yerevan contradicted the statement of the Georgian president’s spokesperson about the planned visit of Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian to Georgia in early November. Officially, Tbilisi is not making any comment about this whereas Armenian and Russian media disseminate different versions of why the visit was cancelled. Already on September 29, 2011 Georgian information agencies announced Armenia’s president would visit Georgia later this year. According to them, Armenian President Sarkisian was planning to visit Tbilisi this fall, but no precise date was known and a definite date would only be known by the beginning of October. On October 18 Saakashvili's press secretary stated that on November 1 the Armenian president would visit Georgia for three days. On October 21 however the spokesman for Armenia’s Foreign Ministry stated that during these dates there were no scheduled visits of the Armenian president at all.

The visit of the Armenian president was planned and then canceled obviously. As to why, the Russian and Armenian media are offering different explanations. The first version coming from Armenia is connected with the comments of Saakashvili when the rescue works during the recent landslide tragedy in Armenia went on very slowly. The Georgian president criticized the activities of the Armenian side saying that in his country things would have been done quicker. The Armenian media also recollected some other cases when Saakashvili compared the two countries and criticized Armenia.

The second version suggests that the Armenian side did not like the fact that officials in Tbilisi announced the Georgia visit before the Armenian president's trip on October 23 to Russia to meet Russia’s President Dmitri Medvedev. The Armenian analyst Viktor Yakubian commented that the cancellation of the visit is a signal that Yerevan is not going to follow the Georgian way or its reforms and that Saakashvili should be more careful in relations with Armenia.

One way or another, Armenian-Georgian relations have not been helped by the cancellation of the presidential trip, whatever the reason. This fact does not bode well for two nations which accepted long ago that they are doomed to be friendly.