Statement by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
Dear Mr. President, dear friend!
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Let me warmly welcome you to Azerbaijan, Mr. President. You are paying an official visit to Azerbaijan today. I can say that the visit has been very successful. The talks we conducted today show again that Georgian-Azerbaijani relations are at a high level. Your visit will give a powerful impetus to the development of these ties. The history of our relations is also very rich. Georgian and Azerbaijani peoples have lived in an atmosphere of good neighborliness and brotherhood for centuries, and today we are continuing this wonderful tradition. I am very pleased that Georgia and Azerbaijan, as two independent states, are cooperating successfully.
There are many similarities in our history. The history of our independence is also the same. We have been living as independent states for 20 years and have made great strides over the years. We are very pleased that Georgia has steadily developed under your leadership. The reforms ongoing in Georgia are receiving good feedback and the development of Georgia under your leadership is already a reality. We, as friends and brothers, rejoice in this and believe that the development of Georgia under your leadership will be very successful and all the problems facing the country will be resolved.
With regard to bilateral relations, they are very broad. Today we discussed practically all aspects of our bilateral agenda. We saw again that there are no problems between us. In fact, our joint initiatives are enriching our countries, expanding their capabilities and having a positive impact on other regions.
Georgian-Azerbaijani relations have gone beyond regional boundaries, our joint initiatives have already assumed international importance. Our political relations are at a very high level. Reciprocal visits are regularly carried out. I am very glad that Azerbaijani companies have begun to invest heavily in the Georgian economy. This investment has a great future. The indicators for the previous year are also very positive. The turnover between us is growing rapidly and I am sure it will continue to grow this year.
Energy issues were discussed again today. These issues have already been resolved. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and the Baku-Supsa oil and gas pipelines have dramatically changed the geopolitical situation in the region. Today, these projects are serving the development of our countries and contributing to energy security.
With regard to energy security, we will further ensure the energy security of Europe together – both in terms of oil and gas. I am very glad that Azerbaijan has contributed to the energy security of Georgia.
Transport issues were also high on the agenda today. The leaders of our respective agencies made presentations. Transit issues were discussed. Cooperation in the humanitarian sphere is at a very high level. This cooperation has a long history. Currently, the Azerbaijanis living in Georgia and the Georgians living in Azerbaijan are making a positive impact on humanitarian processes and all other areas. Of course, it is our task to create a comfortable life for them in our countries. I am very pleased that the problems of our compatriots are successfully resolved in both Georgia and Azerbaijan. This factor, of course, is always part of our bilateral agenda.
In short, the friendly and brotherly relations between us are a reality. These are not just words but a reality, a requirement of the day. I have no doubt that Georgia and Azerbaijan, as two friendly and brotherly countries, will be together for many years to come. Our future is in unity. Only together can we achieve what we want and meet the goals of our countries.
I want to say a few words about our activities on the international arena. We support each other in all international organizations. This is a very sincere and substantial support. In all international organizations we vote for one another, which further underlines the strategic nature of Georgian-Azerbaijani relations. I can say that Azerbaijan will continue to support Georgia in all international organizations. I am sure we will receive similar support from you in the future. Once again, welcome to our country! You are our dear friend. We are bound by the ties of personal friendship, which also has a positive impact on bilateral relations.
Very warm welcome to Azerbaijan again! I wish you and all the people of Georgia happiness and continued success.
Statement by President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili
Dear Mr. President!
We are always pleased to come to Azerbaijan. This is not only an official visit, but a visit that is very encouraging indeed. It gives us very positive energy. Such visits generate positive energy, feeding the cooperation between our countries. I would also like to note that Azerbaijan has always been a country with very good prospects.
Mr. President, Azerbaijan is not only a rapidly developing country under your leadership, but also a regional leader, a state known at a global level. Azerbaijan proceeds from its own interests in many international organizations. Today, Azerbaijan is a member of the UN Security Council.
Azerbaijan clearly plays a positive role in all matters. We feel Azerbaijan’s assistance in any issue. This is the strength of our relationship. In essence, this is the cornerstone of stability and development in the region. This is taking place precisely on the basis of your activities, your strong will, the will of the Azerbaijani people. You are a truly independent country. You can set an example for many countries in the region. Azerbaijan is a good example for us and for others. We shouldn’t take this for granted. We have seen different developments in the region and believe that from this point of view Azerbaijan is an exception.
Azerbaijan attaches great importance to these relations. We think we have resolved all the issues and problems that stood before us and achieved tangible results.
I am always happy to meet with my brother Ilham Aliyev. We act on a specific foundation and conduct consultations on many issues. We are implementing a large-scale railway project. As part of this project, Azerbaijan will invest $320 million. This will be a joint route that will link us with Europe. Both cargo and passengers will be transported. Every year the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will transport two million people from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia. Thus, they will obtain access to Europe. As a result, Georgia's relations with Europe will become even broader and Azerbaijan will contribute to that. From this standpoint, our relations are an important factor in achieving our development goals.
We cooperate in the energy sector. This is a multi-faceted cooperation, and it is already evident. Georgia is also growing rapidly. The assistance of fraternal Azerbaijan has contributed crucially to this development. This development is taking place because of the assistance we receive from Azerbaijan. So the independence of Azerbaijan also means Georgia's independence.
We intend to set up a power engineering company. It will export electricity to third countries. And this ultimately means that we will build new hydro power stations and Azerbaijan’s funds will be invested in many spheres. This will open up many opportunities for us, our citizens living in Georgia. We intend to expand these opportunities – Georgia’s energy opportunities.
I also want to note that we have reached agreement on the construction of a plant between Poti and Kulevi. Its construction will start this year. This project shows our mutually beneficial cooperation.
Azerbaijan invests in Georgia, our companies are doing relevant work in our countries. For example, Azerbaijan’s biggest company, the State Oil Company, operates in Georgia, it has already invested a lot and will expand its activities. This activity is highly important for the region, for its people. We are very pleased that it goes beyond the region. We are pleased with that.
Thus, Baku is implementing major infrastructure projects in the region. The improving roads – to the Georgian border and from the Georgian borders to other countries – already expand our capabilities. The Baku-Tbilisi trunk road will be an additional important means to the strengthening of our friendship.
We must also cooperate in the field of education. We think we need to simplify border-crossing procedures for passengers. They must be free from any bureaucratic obstacles and cross the border freely. This is a desire of the peoples of both countries – to create better living conditions.
We talked about friendship here. During the meetings we have seen that our agreements and achievements are measured by figures. For example, in one year our turnover exceeded $1 billion. As for the trade balance, it is still negative for Georgia. And this is natural. But exports from Georgia to Azerbaijan are growing every year. This shows that our relations are mutually beneficial. All this is based on Heydar Aliyev’s strategic outlook. My friend Ilham Aliyev has said that these relations have deep historical roots.
I will also make a statement in the Milli Mejlis. I want to say that the relationship developing for centuries allows us to see how closely connected our two countries are. From this standpoint, friendly and fraternal relations are important to all of us, and it is felt very well. This is not just an emotional statement. Ilham Aliyev’s role is important in any field. Azerbaijan is pursuing this policy. It is thanks to this policy that Georgia has maintained its independence. Azerbaijani investment has also contributed to better working conditions in Georgia. Nevertheless, the geopolitical situation is still complicated.
There are different issues. But friends always hold their hands together at such moments. We are working closely to eliminate all obstacles.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for this warm welcome and for all these successful and great results. This is extremely important for our citizens, for our future. Thank you.