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Georgian, Armenian Presidents Meet In Armenia

Yerevan, 12 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili arrived in Yerevan today on his first official visit to Armenia, meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharian and calling for closer relations between regional neighbors.

"Naturally, I consider the South Caucasus as a single region. We have close relations with Azerbaijan, but I think we should also develop bilateral Georgian-Armenian relations. We are also developing relations with our other neighbors, and in the end, as a result of resolving many of the existing problems, including some profound problems, this region must be integrated -- both politically and economically -- in order to be successful."

Kocharian said the two agreed at their talks today to meet often, both formally and informally.

Saakashvili also said Armenia could help Georgia normalize its relations with Russia, which have been complicated by the continued presence of Russian troops and Russia's support for Georgia's separatist regions.

Earlier today, Russia's Foreign Ministry warned the new Georgian government against trying to force its autonomous region of Adjaria back under the control of Tbilisi.