"Tbilisi ready to become mediation site for talks between Baku, Yerevan"
    Georgian experts talk with Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  25 January 2023 - 18:27

    Vadim Mansurov

    Both Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Garibashvili told the recent World Forum in Davos that Georgia could become a convenient platform for dialogue between Baku and Yerevan. Georgian First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Giorgi Volski, confidently said the best platform for Armenia’s talks with Azerbaijan is Georgia. He also argued, that there are many Azerbaijanis and Armenians living in the country.

    Volski recalled, that Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stressed that "Georgia is a neutral and impartial mediator between Azerbaijan and Armenia" during the panel discussion held in Davos within the World Economic Forum.

    Meanwhile, as Ilham Aliyev said in Davos, "Armenia has rejected our offer to start a trilateral cooperation format".

    "I highly appreciate the efforts of my friend Irakli Garibashvili who organized the meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, which was joined by his Georgian colleague. Our proposal was to organize a meeting of leaders in Georgia, as Georgia has historically always been a place where all neighbors met", said Aliyev.

    Armenia’s reaction to these words by the head of Azerbaijan once again showed that Yerevan is completely inconsistent, as the president noted earlier, in his decisions and actions. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan’s statement in an interview with Armenian media is evidence of this. Commenting on Ilham Aliyev’s remark about Yerevan’s refusal to accept such a trilateral format of dialogue, he suddenly said that they were considering holding a meeting with the heads of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

    Is it not strange, because Baku offered to meet in Tbilisi in this format not today and not even yesterday, what made Yerevan delay and even throw away everything?

    Georgian political scientist, Head of the Academy of International Relations and Director General of the Georgian-Azerbaijani Relations Development Fund Simon Kopadze, told Caliber.Az in an interview that Georgia is the most convenient platform for negotiations between Baku and Yerevan because it has the most neutral position towards both Azerbaijanis and Armenians.

    "But here the main thing is that there are three states in the South Caucasus region, and for its development, it is important that all these countries have a common independent policy. According to the idea, after 2020 the Armenians should have been soberer to assess the situation in their country and to try to interact directly with Baku. But Armenia, after it stopped considering Moscow as the main negotiating platform, decided to resort to Western mediation. In this case, mediators support far from everything that Yerevan wants and desires - only the rule of international law and respect for territorial integrity are relevant here, which is the key condition for communication. And the Armenians don’t want that", said Kosopadze.

    According to him, the sooner Armenia realizes that it is time to give up its fantastic ideas about a "Great Armenia" and start agreeing with all countries of the region - Azerbaijan, Türkiye, Georgia, as this is the only acceptable way for all Armenians, the better. But Georgia is always ready to provide its platform for negotiations at any level, says Kosopadze. Moreover, he believes that "Georgia needs to explain to Armenia that in case of refusal of the dialogue, the whole region is under attack, including the interests of Tbilisi".

    The expert stresses that the positive development of the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia is directly in Georgia’s strategic interests. And the games of Yerevan - the refusal of dialogue in Tbilisi, the acceptance of reservations - look ridiculous and unworthy.

    "Today Armenia is literally hanging from one straw, but at the same time believes that France and some European structures will use their leverage to influence Azerbaijan. This is not clear to me. Territorial integrity is territorial integrity, and no peace process is possible without it. Yerevan must realize that it is necessary to completely revise its policy in the region - there is no other way", says Kosopadze.

    According to another Georgian political scientist, Shota Apkhaidze, the Director of Islamic Studies Center of the Caucasus, the talks at the Georgian site are an interesting and absolutely correct initiative, because Georgia is a country of the region and therefore better than other neighbouring countries, like Russia or Iran and understands the geopolitics of this territory, has its own interests, a common vision of the issue.

    "Georgia has always offered its mediation services and now can be a successful mediator of the talks between Baku and Yerevan, I am sure of that. And what Prime Minister Garibashvili proposes can be a productive way to resolve the situation. Armenia must respond. Armenia’s temporary freeze of the negotiating formats has so far obviously been linked to a sharp domestic political struggle, where every politician who argues for a compromise with Azerbaijan risks becoming a political corpse for the opposition and the public at home. But it is still necessary to reach an agreement with Armenia, to use the international legal potential of Tbilisi, too, and not to get away from it. Geography cannot be changed, and this issue cannot be solved by war", stressed Apkhaidze.



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