Azerbaijan, Georgia mull cooperation in various fields – UPDATE

By: Aynur Karimova

The prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia in various sectors were high on the agenda of talks held between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Georgian counterpart, Giorgi Margvelashvili.

During an expanded meeting, held as part of President Aliyev’s official visit to Tbilisi on November 5, the two presidents discussed cooperating in economic, infrastructure, energy, humanitarian and other sectors.

Prior to the expanded meeting, President Aliyev and President Margvelashvili held a one-on-one meeting, as both sides expressed satisfaction with the successful development of bilateral relations and expressed confidence that relations between the two countries would develop even further.

The importance of the Azerbaijani president’s official visit to Georgia was emphasized in terms of the expansion of bilateral ties, as well.

The sides also exchanged views over issues of international, bilateral and mutual interest.

Later, President Aliyev and President Margvelashvili signed a Joint Declaration and made statements to the press.

In his speech, President Aliyev paid special attention to the giant Southern Gas Corridor project.

“The Southern Gas Corridor is being successfully realized today,” he said. “The Southern Gas Corridor has great economic and political importance, both for Georgia and Azerbaijan today, as well as for Europe.”

The Azerbaijani president also expressed confidence that Azerbaijani gas will be delivered in even greater volumes in 2018 to Turkey, and in 2020 to Europe.

“It is a very big project. I consider that it is the largest energy project underway today in Europe. In realization of the Southern Gas Corridor, plans call for investments of at least $45 billion,” he noted.

President Aliyev also said that Azerbaijan possesses very rich and large gas reserves. The confirmed reserves of gas have been estimated at 2.6 trillion cubic meters.

“It means that within, at least, 100 years, Azerbaijan will be able to provide enough natural gas in large volumes for itself, and neighboring countries, as well as for the European states,” he stressed. “Of course, joint activity by Georgia and Azerbaijan, and our common position in the future, will indicate the reliability of this corridor. Thus, the geopolitical importance of our countries will increase. Certainly, our incomes will also increase.”

In his remarks, President Margvelashvili said that Georgia is grateful to Azerbaijan, not only for its partnership, but also for implementation of many projects in Georgia.

“Azerbaijan always supports Georgia, not only in economic, but also in the humanitarian field”, he said. “Each Georgian knows well what help is rendered by Azerbaijan to us. As an example, we can note the support and help in implementation of charitable projects connected with kindergartens, churches, and athletes. We are grateful to Azerbaijan, also, for this cooperation. The Georgian people, too, will always be close to the friendly Azerbaijani people.”

Later, an official dinner reception was hosted on behalf of the Georgian president in honor of President Aliyev.

Addressing the event, President Margvelashvili spoke about the quick pace of development in modern Azerbaijan.

“The role of President Ilham Aliyev in this process of reorganization is important and significant,” he noted. “It was confirmed once again by his success in the last parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. Taking the opportunity, I want to congratulate the President and Azerbaijani people on this important step on the way to further development and prosperity of the friendly country. I am confident that under the leadership of Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan will achieve even more impressive progress.”

On the second day of the visit, Presidents Aliyev and Margvelashvili visited the “Tea house” training center in Marneuli district densely populated with Azerbaijanis.

The “Tea house” training center attaches great importance to the promotion of Azerbaijani cuisine. The Mugham restaurant in the center offers dishes of the national cuisine.

The Presidents met with representatives of the Azerbaijani community in Georgia, and made speeches at the meeting.

Later, President Aliyev and President Margvelashvili have reviewed a cold storage complex in Marneuli.

The heads of state were informed that the cold storage complex of “Aqroinvest 146” LLC was commissioned in Jandar settlement of Marneuli district. The area of cold storage facilities is 4,250 square meters. The two storage facilities for meat and fish products have a cooling capacity at -5°C to -20°C temperature. The capacity of the cold storage complex is 2,100 tons of various types of agricultural products and thousands tons of dried fruits.

The complex was commissioned as part of Azerbaijan`s investment projects in Georgia. The construction work, which started in March, 2013, was carried out by Akkord Georgia company

Azerbaijan and Georgia established diplomatic relations in 1992, one year after gaining independence from the Soviet Union. In October 1997, Azerbaijan and Georgia became two of the four founding members of GUAM, an organization that also includes Ukraine and Moldova.

Today, the two countries are successfully cooperating in the political field, and strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia is developing from day to day.

The two neighboring countries enjoy not only good political relations, but also long-standing and successful cooperation in the energy sector. Further, Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR is deeply involved in the energy market in the neighboring South Caucasus republic.

Azerbaijan has long been one of Georgia’s largest trade partners, with trade turnover between the two countries reaching $1.35 billion in 2014.

Azerbaijan mainly exports petroleum, petroleum oils and gases, gypsum, anhydrite, plaster and other products to Georgia, while motor cars, live bovine animals, bars and rods of iron, as well as cement, make up the majority of imported goods from Georgia to Azerbaijan.


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