Caucasus Reality 14 march — 19:54

Georgian President in Yerevan accused Armenia of occupying Azerbaijani lands

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One of the topics of the talks of the newly elected Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, who is on a visit to Armenia, with the leadership of this country was regional conflicts. In Yerevan, they tried to find out what the head of the Georgian state had in mind when she recently declared in Baku 'the occupation of the territories of Georgia and Azerbaijan.' As a result, the Georgian president not only confirmed her position on Nagorno-Karabakh, but also made accusations against the Armenian leadership.

According to the Kommersant newspaper, the tough position of Salome Zourabichvili can put an end to the policy of equidistance from the parties to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which Georgia has adhered to throughout the post-Soviet period.

The leadership of Armenia, who received Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili in Yerevan, was especially interested in the explanations of the head of the Georgian state about her ambiguous statement in Baku. On February 27, visiting Azerbaijan with an official visit, Ms Zourabichvili touched upon the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and Georgia. Her phrases about the occupation by Russia of the Georgian autonomies — Abkhazia and South Ossetia — did not surprise anyone, since Georgian leaders often make such accusations against Moscow. But this time, the Georgian president, in fact, for the first time openly accused Armenia of occupying Nagorno-Karabakh and part of the territories adjacent to it.

'We almost simultaneously restored the independence of our countries and suffered the same tragedies,' said Salome Zourabichvili, addressing Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. At the same time, the head of the Georgian state specified that, under 'similar tragedies,' she meant precisely the occupation of territory.

'The occupation lines are a non-healing wound for us too,' the president continued and expressed satisfaction that Georgia and Azerbaijan, despite the occupation, 'were able to strengthen their statehood and develop the economy.'

According to Kommersant, during meetings in Yerevan, including with Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the theme of Baku statements to Salome Zurabishvili was raised with varying degrees of acuity. But the president of Georgia did not even think to justify herself or to disavow her statement. On the contrary, she made a number of complaints against the Armenian side.

In particular, during a meeting with the Chairman of the National Assembly of Armenia, Ararat Mirzoyan, Salome Zourabichvili warned: for her country, 'it is very important' that Armenia recognises Georgia's territorial integrity not only in words but in deed. The head of state immediately explained that she meant the visits of the delegations of Nagorno-Karabakh to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 'Thus, the organisers of the visits themselves demonstrate that these conflicts are symmetrical,' the president of Georgia did not conceal her displeasure. 'This is very sad and painful,' Salome Zourabichvili continued in the same vein. 'We believe that here (in Armenia - Kommersant) there is no goodwill that should be in relation to our country.'

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