By Emil DanielyanPresident Serzh Sarkisian will meet his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev early next week for talks that will apparently focus on Russia’s bitter conflict with Georgia.
Sarkisian’s office said on Friday the meeting will take place in the Russian Black Sea port of Sochi next Tuesday. It said the two presidents will discuss “further development of the Russian-Armenian strategic partnership” and “regional and international issues.”
Armenia’s unfolding presidency of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Russian-led military alliance of six ex-Soviet states, will also be on the agenda, it added. No further details were reported.
Medvedev and Sarkisian already discussed the crisis over Georgia in a phone conversation on August 13, one week after the outbreak of fighting in South Ossetia that escalated into an all-out Russian-Georgian war. The Armenian presidential press service said afterwards that they “agreed to hold, if need be, additional consultations on further developments” in the conflict zone.
Armenia has avoided openly taking sides in the dispute, mindful of Georgia’s vital significance for its transport communication with the outside world and its dependence on Russia for defense and energy resources.
Still, Sarkisian did signal last week his disapproval of Tbilisi’s disastrous attempt to restore Georgian control over South Ossetia by force. And while declining to support Russia’s decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, official Yerevan has made clear it that it believes the status of the two breakaway territories should be determined by their pro-Russian populations.