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President Aliev visits Georgia

By Messenger staff
Monday, November 9
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who chose Georgia as the first country to visit after parliamentary elections in his homeland, has held his official meeting with his Georgia’s counterpart Giorgi Margvelahsvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

It should be stated that the opposition United National Movement (UNM) was saying that Azerbaijan “was angry” with Georgia as the latter decided to purchase extra gas supplies from Russia.

The opposition claimed that the Government’s decision might damage relations with Azerbaijan, which remains Georgia’s major gas provider.

The Georgian-Azerbaijani strategic partnership as well as political-economic and global issues have been the major topics of the bilateral meetings held in an enlarged format.

After the first meeting with Margvelashvili, the sides signed a memorandum envisaging the deepening of relations in the fields of politics, security, trade-economic, transit, transport, culture, education and science.

In their statements to the media, both Presidents confirmed the existence of an “irreversible friendship” between the two countries that had taken roots many centuries ago.

“Twenty years ago, in light of the positive relationship between our nations, the strategic cooperation between our countries was established, giving a very important role to Azerbaijan, as well as to Georgia and the whole Caucasus region. We discussed strategic cooperation, connecting us with Azerbaijan, far-reaching plans, in relation with the Caspian Sea, as well as the Black Sea. We also spoke about deepening transport and energy projects,” Margvelashvili said.

On this note, the Georgian President stressed that the two countries’ relations “passed a serious exam” during and after the Russian- Georgian War of 2008, when Azerbaijan definitely and clearly revealed its support to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Margvelashvili emphasised that despite Russia’s aggressive actions on Georgian soil and its ongoing creeping occupation of Georgian territory, Tbilisi “remains devoted” to its transit role and could perform the function successfully in the future, connecting Europe with Asia.

“The projects we are speaking about are being implemented, their perspectives are the deepening of energy and transport cooperation in Europe and more active participation of the Caspian states in this regard.

“I am sure that these projects have great potential. However, they have potential not only for the Caspian Sea region, but more globally, engaging China; in this way we can develop a great corridor, and Azerbaijan and Georgia see each other as partners here too,” Margvelashvili said.

In response, the Azerbaijani President confirmed Margvelahsvili’s words, saying that the Georgian and Azerbaijani relationship in various economic and non-economic directions is entirely mutual.

“We are friends, we are brothers and our successful meeting and visit today is a successful step for our dynamic development in future,” Aliyev said.

The President stressed that if the Baku-Supsa-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Erzurum gas pipelines had not been built years ago, no one would be able to speak about the South Stream.

“We would not have the luxury to discuss it,” Aliyev said.

“This concept has been successfully implemented step by step and I hope that Azerbaijani gas will be exported to Turkey in 2018 and to the European market in 2020. It is a great energy project, and 45 million USD will be invested in it,” Aliyev added.

In this context, the Azeri leader mentioned that Azerbaijan had large gas reservoirs. This means that after one hundred years, Azerbaijan would be able to satisfy not only itself, but the market of its neighbors and then also export it to Europe.

The strategic partnership between the two countries was also confirmed after Aliyev’s meeting with Garibashvili.

The Georgian side stressed that between 2012-2015, Foreign Direct Investments from Azerbaijan has increased by 3-7 times.

Within the visit, the Azerbaijani President also met with the ethnic Azerbaijani population in Georgia, laid a wreath on his late father’s monument in Tbilisi and visited the Fallen Heroes Memorial in the centre of Georgia’s capital.