President Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Georgia make press statements [UPDATE]
Following the acquaintance with the “Heritage of Karabakh Khanate” exhibition at Château Mukhrani, Mtskheta Municipality, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili are making a press statement.
The Prime Minister of Georgia made the statement first.
Statement by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili
- Mr. President.
Dear friends, guests.
Today, I sincerely welcome the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev. Mr. President, thank you for visiting Georgia today.
Good neighborly relations and strategic partnership between our countries, including our cooperation agenda, highlight the importance of your visit. I also want to emphasize your contribution to the close relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia. Our countries have incomparable friendly relations and close ties. Those relations are based on our historical ties and mutual respect. I am sure that our existing cooperation will rise to an even higher level in the interests of the well-being of our countries and peoples.
Today we had a very important meeting, discussed various issues and once again emphasized the close partnership between our countries. We discussed the processes currently taking place in the world and agreed that the events taking place in Ukraine should be resolved through negotiations.
We also consider that the events unfolding in the world should be resolved only through peace and stability. This is important both for our region and our peoples.
In addition, we have reviewed the regional situation, contacts between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the peace process between the two countries. Our government and myself are hopeful that we will do our best to implement the policy of peace. Good neighborly relations in our region are not against any format of cooperation, we will only strengthen it, and I am sure that we can do a lot together.
Mr. President, I also support the initiative you put forward in Prague to create a cooperation format in the South Caucasus.
We have also reviewed economic, energy and transport issues. Georgia is an important country for Azerbaijan. At the same time, Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Georgia. We have reviewed the important projects we have already implemented. These are historic projects – the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and Middle Corridor. The projects we have implemented will continue to be carried forward and we are determined to speed them up even more.
I want to quote your father, the national leader of your country. We have deep respect for his dear memory. When he was in Tbilisi, in Georgia, he said that the Azerbaijani and Georgian peoples are lucky to be neighboring nations. Our ancestors created those contacts, and it is our duty today to carry that collaboration forward and pass it on to future generations.
Mr. President, thank you again.
x x x
Then the President of Azerbaijan made a statement.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. Prime Minister.
Dear ladies and gentlemen.
Dear Prime Minister, first of all, thank you for inviting me to your country. We meet in this beautiful place of Georgia. These are spectacular places. It is also windy, as if it were the Baku wind. This shows that the wind also welcomes us here today. So I really feel at home. I am very happy to be visiting Georgia again.
We have frequent meetings with Prime Minister. Last year alone, Mr. Garibashvili visited Azerbaijan twice. At the same time, we meet regularly within the framework of the events held on the sidelines of international organizations. I am sure that today's visit will give a new impetus to the friendly and brotherly relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan. These relations are based on very deep traditions. For centuries, our peoples have lived in the conditions of friendship, brotherhood and good neighborliness. Interstate relations are also built on this solid foundation.
Today, our strategic partnership relations have almost risen to the level of alliance. We actively cooperate in many fields. We always support each other within the framework of international organizations and in a bilateral format. Many projects are of special importance not only for our countries, but also for the region and Europe as a whole. As Prime Minister has mentioned, many issues were discussed today. Discussions will be continued. Of course, the processes taking place in the region and issues related to security were at the center of our discussions. I have informed the Prime Minister about the situation after the second Karabakh war and the progress of peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We believe that after the Karabakh conflict, the time has come for Azerbaijan and Armenia to sign a peace treaty. At least this is our intention. We have laid down our proposals consisting of five main principles to the Armenian side. I do hope that the Armenian side will also show political will and sign the peace treaty with Azerbaijan on the basis of these fundamental principles recognized by the international community. If this happens, peace will come to the South Caucasus and, at the same time, opportunities for cooperation will emerge. Today, during the conversation, we also exchanged views on the start of Georgia-Azerbaijan-Armenia consultations. If the Armenian side is ready for them, we are ready too.
As for our bilateral agenda, of course, we are pleased with the increase in our turnover. In nine months of this year, the turnover has approached one billion dollars. Of course, projects implemented with the investment of Azerbaijan further strengthen our cooperation. Azerbaijan has invested more than 3 billion dollars in Georgia. This investment is mutually beneficial because it meets the interests of both parties. Of course, today we had a broad exchange of views on our future energy policy. As the Prime Minister has also noted, the implemented projects are already successfully operating. We are thinking about new projects. We intend to increase gas exports to world markets. This year we will export 22 billion cubic meters and next year this figure will increase even more. The Memorandum on strategic partnership in the field of energy, signed between the European Commission and Azerbaijan in July of this year, indicates that Azerbaijan will double gas exports to Europe in the next five years. At least this is our intention and we have sufficient capabilities to do that. So we plan that Azerbaijan's gas export to Europe alone will reach 20 billion cubic meters in 2027. Of course, the work to be done in this regard was discussed in a bilateral format, and there is a need for further discussions. At the same time, exports will be increased through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline next year. We also want to use the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline, which is currently not in operation. We have also talked about this. I informed the Prime Minister about our plans. There is a great need and great potential for this.
The new project to be implemented is related to electricity. Azerbaijan is trying to export its electricity to world markets. Of course, our export direction passes through Georgia. Ten Gigawatts of renewable energy can be used on liberated lands alone. In the Caspian Sea, this number reaches 157 Gigawatts. So this is a figure confirmed by international experts, and it is a very large figure. Of course, producing and exporting this energy is on our agenda in the coming years. Georgia and Azerbaijan will actively cooperate in this and other fields. In short, there are great opportunities to increase the economic potential of our region – energy resources, transport corridors.
I should also say that the volume of cargo transportation between Georgia and Azerbaijan has increased by 75 percent this year. I want to inform you that we intend to increase the carrying capacity of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to 5 million tons. For this purpose, Azerbaijan will make additional investment in this project this year and next year. All investment is ready and we have started the process because there is a great need for transport routes across the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan, Georgia and neighboring countries. The new transport routes meet the interests of all the countries located along the route, both in relation to the geopolitical situation and as a whole. Therefore, increasing the throughput capacity of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to 5 million tons and increasing the volume of cargo transferred from Central Asia and Asia as a whole to the West and back using Georgian ports creates a new reality. We have to be ready for that. I must state that we want to increase the capacity of Baku International Sea Trade Port from 15 million to 25 million tons. All the instructions have already been given and the funds will be allocated. Therefore, there should be close coordination between Georgia and Azerbaijan in the field of transport. Our joint projects must be completed at the same time. To be a transit country, you must have good relations with your neighbors. Because without good relations with neighbors, no country can become a reliable transit state. Our friendly, brotherly and partnership relations with Georgia create these opportunities. Currently, as there is a great demand for energy resources in the whole world and in Europe, Georgia and Azerbaijan will act in a coordinated manner in this matter and ensure their national interests by focusing on one point. Notice how important the relations between two brotherly countries are for the region, for Europe and for the world.
I want to note again that all these successes are based on our friendship, the friendship of our peoples, the friendship between our leaders and our joint activities. Therefore, I want to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister for this wonderful opportunity, for inviting me to this beautiful place. I wish prosperity, well-being and peace to the friendly and brotherly Georgian people. Thank you.
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