What Was The Most Important Thing about Pashinyan’s Visit to Georgia?
Armenian-Georgian relations are moving to a new stage, which, in general, can be connected with the visits of the new Prime Minister of Armenia N. Pashinyan and President A. Sargsyan to the neighboring country. Perhaps, the fact that the two high-ranking officials of Armenia made their first official visits to Georgia, already shows that the development of the Armenian-Georgian relations is of great importance. The visits of the President and the Prime Minister to Georgia should perhaps be considered as part of one process, and if the task of A. Sargsyan was to create a warm atmosphere and contacts with the Georgian authorities, the visit of the actual head of the state, the Prime Minister of Armenia, was aimed at capitalizing this positive background through practical discussions with the Georgian side.
Despite the fact that the Georgian direction of Armenia’s foreign policy was constantly considered as a priority, and in the recent years there has been a significant warming in relations, the potential of interaction between the two countries remains not fully realized. In addition, over the years, the sides have been afraid of publicly speaking at the state level about the problems accumulated in bilateral relations (the problems of Armenians from Javakhk region, voting against each other in international structures, etc.), preferring to discuss them in a closed format. As a result of this approach, however, the existing issues of the society remain relevant, and various problems continue to affect the bilateral relations.
New realities created opportunities for giving new impetus to the Armenian-Georgian relations: this was one of the main tasks of the Prime Minister’s visit to Georgia. From the analysis of high-level meetings and speeches, as well as the existing accents, it can be assumed that the Armenian delegation set the task to overcome existing but unspoken problems concerning trust building, which have both objective (for example, the strategic partnership with the Russian Federation, the trilateral active Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey cooperation, etc.), and subjective grounds (for example, stereotypes). All this, perhaps, received the sounded wording already within the framework of the Prime Minister’s visit to Javakhk: “Georgia and the Georgian people should be ensured that there is no threat, no provocation against the Georgian people in the actions of Armenia and the Armenian people, and the Armenian people and Armenia should be ensured that there is no threat or provocation in the actions of the Georgian people and Georgia.”
Within the framework of the visit of the Armenian Prime Minister to Georgia, his visit to the Armenian populated areas of Javakhk was of great importance. In the Armenian-Georgian relations, the issues concerning Javakhk are quite sensitive, especially taking into account the current mood among the Georgian public and the regularly intensifying Azerbaijani propaganda (the myth of Javakhk separatism). The visit, carried out together with representatives of the Georgian authorities in Javakhk, was important enough to overcome stereotypes prevalent in Georgia, familiarize with the problems of Armenians living there, as well as from the point of view of further strengthening of the Armenian-Georgian cooperation, where Georgian-Armenians can become a serious factor.
Thus, if we try to summarize the results of the visit of Prime Minister Pashinyan to Georgia, in general, it can be considered successful from the point of view of establishing mutual trust and partnership atmosphere with the Georgian side, as well as actively addressing existing problems and trying to see ways to solve them.