Georgia is pushing forward with an initiative aimed at promoting peace and regional co-operation in the South Caucasus which has been dubbed “Peaceful Neighbourhood Initiative”.
After his visit to Baku at the end of September, the Georgian prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili, this weekend paid a working visit to Armenia for meetings with his Armenian counterpart, Nikol Pashinyan.
According to the website of the Georgian Government, the initiative was at the centre of the discussions in Yerevan between the two prime ministers. The website said that “during the meeting, the Prime Minister of Georgia reaffirmed the readiness of Georgia to continue its active facilitation role in order to ensure peace, stability and the gradual transformation of the South Caucasus into a region of new opportunities, development and peace”.
There has so far been little information on the nature of the regional initiative but sources close to the Georgian government have indicated that It was an offer of “good offices” rather than a mediation exercise, and was not meant to replace any existing processes. It was also not meant against anyone, but rather, seen as an inclusive process that excludes no one. The intention of the Georgian government was to build the platform around tangible actions, initiatives and projects. Georgia is hoping to attract EU and US support for concrete actions within the initiative.
On 1 October, experts, officials and opinion shapers from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia met in Kachreti Georgia to discuss prospects for regional co-operation in an event hosted by the Georgian Foreign Ministry and LINKS Europe. During the meeting several participants emphasised the importance of strong political will on the part of decision makers to push forward peace and regional co-operation in the South Caucasus, and the need to engage with the populations across the region in support of this quest.
Participants in the seminar heard in detail from a number of speakers an assessment of the untapped potential in the South Caucasus resulting from the conflict situations and the current lack of proper regional co-operation.