Georgia is the relevant platform for negotiations between Baku and Yerevan - Ghia Abashidze -

27 March, Monday

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Georgia is the relevant platform for negotiations between Baku and Yerevan - Ghia Abashidze

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Prime minister of Georgia Irakli Garbashvili has suggested that he is ready to mediate in the negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the peace process. At the same time Vice-speaker of Georgian parliament, Goergy Volsky said that Georgia as country could be a suitable platform for the governments of Azerbaijan and Armenia to hold the negotiations. 

Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev while he was making speech in the Davos summit noted that he appreciated the efforts of PM Garbashvily for the establishment of Georgia-Azerbaijan-Armenia trilateral format. Aliyev obviously supports proposal to organize the bilateral talks between Baku and Yerevan in Georgia at the level of government- to-government.   

Unfortunately, the Pashinyan government has not yet expressed its position on the initiative of Georgia and Azerbaijan for the trilateral format. 

To clarify the importance of the South Caucasus trilateral format, Eurasia Diary conducted an interview with Ghia Abashidze, Tbilisi-based political analyst on regional and international studies. 

He has worked for decades in international organisations and currently contributes to local and foreign media outlets.

The Georgian government is not on the tip of a knife but on the tip of a  knife" - Gia Abashidze

-  Firstly, please tell us, why the government of Armenia cannot express his intention to join the negotiations with Georgia and Azerbaijan over the establishment of the trilateral format?

I can not speak on behalf of Armenia. However, I see that one side of the long-lasting conflict could be a bit cautious and weighs up different aspects. Can not say it for sure that the official Yerevan wants to withdraw from the promising formats of negotiations. Prime Ministers Garibashvili and Pashinyan met in both capitals in December and January. Various high-ranking officials of the two countries visited Tbilisi and Yerevan in recent months. Talks were not focused only on bilateral relations. Peace process is very complicated and time-consuming as any long conflict in the world. Ultimately, I would not be skeptical.

- Do you think that Georgia-Azerbaijan-Armenia trilateral format could play a important role in the elimination of impacts of Foreign powers on the region, as well as in the restoration of peace and stability in the South Caucasus?

Peaceful and stable South Caucasus is in the utmost interests of the three neighbouring states. If Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia cooperate in many dimensions it is also in the interests of the wider region. Impacts of others’ domination can be transformed in the big channel of mutually acceptable partnership formats. This cannot happen overnight or in a near future but it has a chance to happen and needs great efforts of all stakeholders with a generous support from the West. Energy, transit, transport, trade, communications, tourism - the spheres are endless where all can receive their benefits.

- Do you think that Geogia could be suitable platform to host negotiations between Azerbaijan and Georgia?

 It is well-known that Baku and Yerevan trust Tbilisi as Georgia is neutral in the conflict. We all remember that in June 2021, Georgian mediation obtained the release of 15 Armenian POWs by Azerbaijan under the deal Yerevan reciprocated by providing Baku with maps of minefields in the conflict zone. The fact was praised by the US and Europe. Similar and wider steps can be taken in the future too. PM Irakli Garibashvili and Georgia’s other top officials numerously expressed great hopes that Azerbaijan and Armenia sooner or later would return to the path of dialogue and Georgia is the relevant platform. Official Tbilisi has been observing the ongoing events in the neighbourhood with great concern. Garibashvili have been emphasizing that Azerbaijan and Armenia have been friendly countries for Georgia and what is happening between them is unacceptable. Let’s not forget that the Head of the Georgian government has systematic contacts with President Ilham Aliyev and PM Nikol Pashinyan. Georgian officials communicate with Azerbaijan’s and Armenia’s counterparts. With a cautious optimism I would emphasize that Tbilisi will become a solid bridge between Baku and Yerevan.

by Yunis Abdullayev 

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