An official dinner reception has been hosted on behalf of President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili in honor of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in Tbilisi.
The heads of state made speeches at the event.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev:
- Dear Mr. President.
Ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, I want to thank you for the hospitality extended to me and the delegation during the visit.
I am very happy to visit your beautiful country again. Our countries and peoples have lived in friendship and good neighborliness for centuries. After regaining independence, we have successfully continued this relationship as strategic partners. The active political dialogue between Azerbaijan and Georgia is accompanied by regular mutual visits. I am pleased to remember your official visit to Azerbaijan in February of last year, as well as our meetings during my visit to Georgia to participate in the trilateral summit Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey in May of the same year. We carried out an exchange of views. I believe that high-level visits are useful for the discussion and solution of issues on the agenda.
Today we have considered many aspects of our bilateral and multilateral cooperation. I am sure that the meetings and discussions held, as well as the joint declaration signed, will contribute to the development and expansion of our cooperation. Our successful cooperation in the political, economic, energy, transport, investment, humanitarian and other spheres has wonderful results. However, I believe that there is great potential for further expansion of our economic relations and increasing trade.
Azerbaijan is one of Georgia’s main trading partners and key investors in the country. Azerbaijani companies are among the biggest taxpayers to the Georgian budget. Our joint large-scale energy and transport projects – the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, the Southern Gas Corridor and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway – enhance the importance of our countries not only in the region but also worldwide. These projects not only serve the development of the region, but also make an important contribution to the restoration of the historic Silk Road. Azerbaijan, along with its partners, plays an important role in meeting Europe's demand for energy. We have already proved to be a reliable partner, and continuous, stable and safe operation of the petroleum and transport infrastructure we have created is important for all parties.
Our relations continue successfully in the humanitarian sphere too. The Azerbaijanis living in Georgia and the Georgians living in Azerbaijan play the role of a bridge in the development of relations in this field. From this point of view, their active participation in the public and political life of their countries is very important for further strengthening the friendship and cooperation between our peoples and countries.
Our countries also cooperate closely within the framework of the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, GUAM and others. Our continued multifaceted cooperation in international and regional organizations is based on mutual support and represents particular importance.
As you know, the biggest source of threat to the development of the region is posed by unresolved conflicts. Azerbaijan has been subjected to military aggression from Armenia for more than 20 years. It has resulted in the occupation of 20 per cent of our territories – Nagorno-Karabakh, which is our historical land, and adjacent seven districts. A policy of ethnic cleansing has been carried out on these territories. More than a million people have become refugees and IDPs. International organizations have expressed their position on the conflict. There are four UN Security Council resolutions demanding unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. There are decisions and resolutions of the OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement and other international organizations. However, aggressive Armenia flouts international law and does not comply with the decisions of international organizations. Our strong position is that the conflict must be resolved only within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in accordance with international law.
Mr. President, let me reaffirm my satisfaction with the visit to Georgia. I wish the brotherly Georgian people continued success.