Armenia respects Georgia’s desire to join NATO and the European Union and believes that it must not hamper closer ties between the two neighboring nations, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said during an official visit to Tbilisi on Tuesday.
“We respect Georgia’s aspirations to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic area,” Pashinian told his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Gakharia at the start of their talks.
“It has happened so that our countries have different ideas about security systems, but I believe we have a common idea about security,” he went on. “Armenia cannot be a security threat to Georgia, and Georgia cannot be a security threat to Armenia.”
Armenia is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Pashinian has repeatedly pledged to keep his country anchored to Russia politically, militarily and economically since he swept to power in 2018.
Echoing statements by former Armenian leaders, Pashinian insisted in Tbilisi that Armenia’s membership in the EEU and Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU create “new opportunities” for expanding bilateral trade.
Georgian-Armenian relations can also be cemented by the two countries’ “commitment to democratic values,” he said.
Gakharia similarly stressed the importance of “democratic development” in the region when he spoke after the talks.
“Our countries have a millennia-old history of friendly relations and we must work hard every day to make our cooperation even more productive,” the Georgian prime minister told a joint news briefing. He too downplayed Tbilisi’s and Yerevan’s “different foreign policy directions.”
“There is no doubt that Armenian-Georgian partnership is one of the most important guarantees of stability in our region,” Pashinian said for his part.
Neither leader announced specific agreements reached as a result of their negotiations. According to an Armenian government statement, they discussed ways of expanding bilateral trade as well as “promising projects on transport, energy and other areas.”