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By Astghik Bedevian
Armenia is closely following the developments in Georgia and hopes for a quick settlement of internal political tensions in this neighboring republic, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said in Yerevan on Thursday.

“Georgia’s stability is a major issue for Armenia. Georgia is a friendly country, our neighbor and we would want to see a stable country. We closely follow the developments. At this moment I can express a hope that it will become possible to reach a political solution shortly. I think that should be the goal of all parties,” Minister Oskanian said at a joint press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart in the Armenian capital.

During the meeting with Petras Vaitiekunas earlier in the day Oskanian, according to his press service, in particular, underlined that “the continued development of cooperation and deepening of integration with the European Union and other European structures will contribute to stabilization of political systems in the region’s countries as well as will help form a culture of a constructive dialogue between the government and the opposition.”

Speaking at the press conference, the Lithuanian foreign minister announced that the political instability prompted a change in his schedule and that he would leave Armenia for Georgia in what appears to be a trip to convey a message of the European Union to this South Caucasus republic.

The EU and NATO on Thursday expressed their concern at the imposition of emergency rule in Georgia and called for an urgent resumption of dialogue between the government of Mikheil Saakashvili and the opposition.

Saakashvili, who came to power in Georgia through the so-called “Rose Revolution” in 2003 and has since repeatedly stated that he wants his country to aim for NATO and EU membership, accuses Russia of stirring up popular unrest against him, after thousands of Georgians took to the street accusing him of corruption.

“We want to send a very clear and strong signal that Georgia’s European path is of utmost importance, to show to the Georgian people that they are not alone. Non-violence is what is important,” Vaitiekunas stressed in Yerevan.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Lithuania on Thursday signed a memorandum on cooperation between their departments on matters of European integration.

Both emphasized the high level of bilateral ties between the two countries and their dynamic development, expressing mutual interest for deepening the political and economic relationship in the future.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry’s press service quoted Oskanian as emphasizing during his meeting with Vaitiekunas that Armenia is ready to study possibilities of cooperation with the Baltic nation in specific areas as part of the EU-Armenia Action Plan.

The Lithuanian foreign minister also reportedly underlined that relations with Armenia are among the priorities for his country’s foreign policy and stated that official Vilnius sees good prospects for Armenia’s European integration and continues to show active involvement and assistance in the implementation of democratic reforms in the South Caucasus countries, including Armenia, and strengthening their relations with the European Union and NATO.

The sides agreed that the two countries have room for developing their bilateral relations in the economic field and in this regard they placed importance on the upcoming visit of Lithuania’s prime minister to Armenia, during which a business forum is planned to be organized.

Oskanian also presented to his Lithuanian counterpart in detail the latest developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. The sides also exchanged views around issues of energy security in the region, Oskanian’s press office said.
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