By Hrach Melkumian
President Robert Kocharian expressed hope on Tuesday that the upcoming fresh presidential and parliamentary elections will put an end to the serious political crisis that gripped Georgia following the November 2 ill-fated vote.
Again underlining Armenia’s interest in stability in the neighboring country, he said the dramatic weekend ouster of its veteran President Eduard Shevardnadze should be followed up by “constitutional” developments that will entail “legitimate solutions.”
“Further processes must proceed within the constitutional framework and we very much hope that the forthcoming elections will not add more tensions to Georgian society,” Kocharian told journalists after talks in Yerevan with his visiting Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmonov. “It is very important for us to see Georgia as a stable and dynamically developing country.”
Rahmonov arrived in Armenia earlier in the day for an official visit aimed at boosting links between the two former Soviet republics. The situation in Georgia was also on the agenda of his talks with Kocharian. “Whatever happens in Georgia is the internal affair of that country, but it can not fail to cause our concern because Georgia is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States,” he said.
Official Yerevan said on Monday it is glad that the three-week standoff between the opposition and Shevardnadze ended without bloodshed. Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said his government will “work with” Nino Burjanadze, the speaker of Georgia’s outgoing parliament who took over as interim president on Sunday. Separately, Armenian parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian phoned Burjanadze to discuss the situation.
Burjanadze was quoted by Baghdasarian’s press service as saying that “friendly relations” between the two countries should continue.
Meeting in Tbilisi on Tuesday, the Georgian parliament decided to call a pre-term presidential election for January 4. But there was no word about the date of repeat legislative polls which will have to be held after the controversial results of the November 2 vote were annulled by the country’s Supreme Court.
Both Kocharian and Rahmonov paid tribute to Shevardnadze who has governed Georgia for the past 11 years. Tajikistan’s president described the latter as a “courageous and far-sighted politician.” “He didn’t’ want bloodshed in Georgia,” he said. “The fact that he is not leaving the country also testifies to his courage.”