Foreign ministers of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey meet in Batumi
By Keti Arjevanidze
Friday, March 29
On March 28th the foreign ministers of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey met as part of the second Trilateral Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Batumi. Foreign ministers Maia Panjikidze, Ahmet Davutoglu and Elmar Mammadyarov signed the final protocol and held a joint press conference after the ministerial meeting.
The first such trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of the three countries was held in Trabzon on Turkey's Black Sea coast in June 2012. The meeting resulted in the Trabzon Declaration which outlined priority areas of cooperation in such areas as the economy, energy, infrastructure, transport, culture and humanitarian relief.
In Batumi the three countries adopted a course of action for 2013-2015. The plan envisages implementing specific projects and initiatives.
"This is a new format of cooperation, because there are many things that connect us. Not only gas pipelines and railways, but political, cultural and touristic collaboration." Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said, adding that these meetings are productive for all three countries.
“This an example for a fourth neighbor country to become a member of this club and to solve its political problems.” Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyrov explained. Mammadyrov was referring to Armenia, which does not have diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey over the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
According to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey recognizes Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Davutoglu also mentioned the presence of a large Abkhazian diaspora in Turkey. “Georgia is one of the most important countries in the Caucasus. I hope that the progress will be made soon to resolve the Abkhazian conflict." Davutoglu stated.
On the first day of his visit on March 27th, the Turkish Foreign Minister met with Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili where both sides discussed steps to be taken in order to deepen relations between Turkey and Georgia.
Davutoglu was also hosted by Georgian Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II in the Patriarchate. The Turkish Foreign minister and the Georgian Patriarch discussed the legal status of Georgian monuments on Turkish territory, the revival of monastery life in the Tao-Klarjeti and Lazeti regions and UNESCO's involvement in restoring Georgian churches on Turkish territory.