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Armenian President Chides Saakashvili Over Economic Comments

Saakashvili (left) and Sarkisian in friendlier times

Saakashvili (left) and Sarkisian in friendlier times

YEREVAN -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has been critical of comments made by his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili, who said the Armenian economy had "virtually collapsed."

Saakashvili said in Tbilisi on March 7 that Armenia's economy was "completely dependent" on Moscow. He said that when the Russian economy began to flounder, the Armenian economy "collapsed, too."

Armenian investment in Russia is some 20 percent, about one-third of its trade with the European Union.

Sarkisian press secretary Samvel Farmanian denied Saakashvili's claims and pointed out that Sarkisian has never publicly commented on the economic conditions in neighboring countries and does not consider it proper statesmanship to do so.

Farmanian accused Saakashvili of trying to deflect attention away from Georgia's growing economic problems, adding that such tactics are not "the best way to divert the attention of his own people."