By Armen Zakarian
President Robert Kocharian was meeting with his visiting Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili in a popular Armenian resort on Monday for talks few details of which were made public.
Sources in the Armenian presidential administration told RFE/RL that Saakashvili arrived in Yerevan by plane on Sunday and joined Kocharian at his summer retreat on the shore of Lake Sevan. They said Saakashvili was later joined by his Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili who arrived from Tbilisi by car.
The sources said Kocharian’s office did not release any statements because of the “informal” character of the talks.
The previous meeting of the two leaders took place at a Georgian ski resort last April. They discussed at the time tensions in Georgia’s Armenian-populated Javakheti region which followed Tbilisi’s demands for the closure of a Russian military base stationed there. According to a Russian news agency, the situation in Javakheti was high on the agenda of the Sevan talks as well.
The Armenian and Georgian prime minister paid a joint visit to the impoverished and restive region late last month, promising joint efforts to alleviate its socioeconomic problems. The Georgian premier, Zurab Noghaideli, announced that his government will use additional U.S. assistance that will be provided to Georgia to rebuild the local roads and other infrastructure.
Speaking to a group of Armenian journalists last week, Saakashvili called for the establishment of closer economic times between the two neighboring countries. “Developing without each other would not be rational, natural or right,” he said.