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Official News

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Shorthand record of joint press conference of Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri

Republic of Armenia Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan: During our meeting, we have discussed all those questions of economic cooperation high on our agenda and agreed on ways of continuing joint efforts with our Georgian colleagues. The common agenda covers creation of a uniform customs service, road construction, the manner in which transiting passenger and freight carrying vehicles should cross the Armenian-Georgian border.

New laws have been passed in Georgia prescribing new regimes and, quite naturally, our agencies should work in common in these spheres. We have discussed economic and welfare issues exchanging our inflation-fighting experiences. Today we have discussed all the topical questions of the Armenian-Georgian agenda as specified during Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s January 22-23 visit to Armenia and agreed on how we should address these questions

Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri: Addressing you my greetings, I wish to thank the Prime Minister of Armenia for a warm welcome. It has always been a pleasure to visit Yerevan, Armenia. We have discussed very interesting questions, inclusive of those problems available in bilateral relations. We have discussed economic affairs, joint management of border checkpoints, as well as transit-related matters. I am convinced that transit matters are of great interest to Armenia. We have also looked at inflation problems. Having a global importance, this issue affects both Armenia and Georgia. We have many new programs and are eager to learn of Armenia’s experience and vice versa.

Question: Rumors have been going since April that Azerbaijani companies are going to acquire the Georgian section of the gas pipeline. Can Georgia guarantee uninterrupted supply of natural gas to Armenia in case of sale of its key gas-main to foreign investors and in particular, to the ones from Azerbaijan?

Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri: This question has been repeatedly discussed. However, I wish to stress that the Georgian government is not going to sell out the control package. There are such strategic facilities that will henceforth be kept under government control in Georgia.

Question to representativesm Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan: Either the border issue was discussed during Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s recent visit to Armenia. What are the steps to undertake in this direction by the Armenian Government? And a second question: welfare packages are being applied against inflationary pressures in Georgia. Is there a similar operational in Armenia?

Republic of Armenia Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan: Thank you for the question. Two problems are faced at the crossing of the Armenian-Georgian border: the first one is that the institute of MICL (mandatory insurance of civil liability) has been introduced this year in Armenia which means that Georgian vehicles should get insurance policies on the territory of our country. The second problem consists in that as of January 1, 2011 trucks will be charged in Georgia for road maintenance purposes. We have agreed that the problems should be minimized to avoid additional inconveniences to the population. To this end, we have instructed our ministers to come together and submit corresponding proposals.

Inflation has been a major challenge in both Georgia and Armenia this year. Together with the Prime Minister of Georgia, we discussed ways of putting a check on these trends. Our shared conclusion is that no effective tools are available against this phenomenon worldwide. This is not an Armenian or a Georgian phenomenon as it is caused by the situation at hand in the world markets. We use known and traditional tools, and also social packages. We have resorted to both conventional measures and welfare packages. We have familiarized with the Georgian know-how in this field. Ours is as follows: in 2010 when prices first went up in the country, we first of all raised the social benefits for some 105 thousand households and increased the pensions as of last November.

The purpose of the above two measures was to protect the vulnerable. In 2011, we are going to apply a package of welfare subsidies for farmers, first of all for the needy ones and those communities facing welfare bottlenecks. We will provide low-cost spring seeds and expand the scope of cultivated lands.

Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri: I wish to add that either in Georgia we have similar programs. As to the joint management of the border, please note that the question has many components: there is a political consensus in this area and we must endeavor in this direction. Our working groups are currently working to this end. We gained some border management experiences while working with Turkey last June and hope to use them in our work with Armenia.
 

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