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Why Armenia Cannot Recognize Abkhazia, South Ossetia Independence

It’s no secret that Russia is our strategic partner, our important partner. On the other hand, we’ve been living side-by-side with Georgians for thousands of years; we have developed good, friendly relations. I don’t know, maybe more than Georgia and Russia, I want these relations normalized. There were and there are problems, but, in any case, I’m convinced that this relationship will be restored, said Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in an interview with Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio.

Asked about his recent meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Armenia and about Armenia-Georgia relations, Sargsyan noted that both countries are trying to adopt policies that “make it easier to live.”

“Georgia is a very important link in the chain for securing not only transit, but also communication with the international community. Over 70% of [Armenia’s] trade goes through Georgia. Which is why we are always try to engage in political dialogue, we try to create favorable conditions for maintaining relations,” said the Armenian president.

Speaking about Armenia’s position on the issue of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Sargsyan said Ossetia, Abkhazia and Kosovo are very important in terms of precedence for Armenia.

“We can recognize [the independence of] neither Abkhazia nor Ossetia nor Kosovo, without recognizing the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It’s simply that no one would understand us. A question then arises: why not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh? Because this is the last step. Recognition of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh will only be when Azerbaijan begins military operations. We do not recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic de jure because we’re negotiating with Azerbaijan. If we recognize [the de-facto republic] then what sense is there to negotiate? And if we continue negotiations on Karabakh, we cannot recognize other countries in a similar state. We, frankly, are very open about this, we’ve said this many times,” concluded Sargsyan.