Following the meeting in presence of delegations, President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili held a joint press conference.
Azerbaijani and Georgian Presidents made statements to the media.
Then, the Presidents took questions from the journalists.
Correspondent of Rustavi 2 TV channel: Some minutes ago, you have had face-to-face talks and the negotiations between delegations. Have you reached any concrete agreement?
President Mikheil Saakashvili: We have talked about the railway connection, which will ensure the development of transportation corridor and stated that it can be a greater access to Europe, starting from China through the Central Asia. We have talked about coordination issues. All these factors will serve to the development of our economies and bringing more investments to our countries.
We work jointly on implementation of the railway connection project. This is a tremendous project. This railway can be extended up to London from China by passing through our territories. This can be even longer that Trans-Siberian railway. We will carry this out.
At the same time, it is envisaged to implement highway from Baku to Batumi by 2012. This will be a four-lane highway from Azerbaijan to the Georgian border and continue further. This means that access to Rustavi city, close to Tbilisi, will be easier. It will take only 18 minutes to go from one city to another. This highway will facilitate access to the Azerbaijani border. It will be possible even to travel to Istanbul using this road. As a result of the construction of this highway, the number of Azerbaijanis visiting Batumi for relaxing will increase.
One of Azerbaijani companies has decided to build a high quality hotel in the city of Batumi. This means that during the construction of the hotel, many of our citizens will find jobs. At the same time, our city will become more attractive. Our neighbors will add beauty to our city.
Of course, the basis of this co-operation has been laid down after 1993. I would like to note in particular fast development and positive changes in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan becomes a very important regional center. This is a very important factor in itself. Importance of Azerbaijan increases each day not only for the Caucasus, but also for Europe. The importance of Azerbaijan increases globally. During recent years, as a result of wise policy of the head of state of Azerbaijan, this country became more important. At the same time, Azerbaijan has made important steps forward in all fields. All these issues serve to diversify further the national economy and ensure more development. We see these successes in Azerbaijan and observe these changes. It was not an easy task to obtain these results. Everyone understands that Azerbaijan has an important role to play. We are proud that Azerbaijan is already a mighty country and its importance is growing gradually.
President Ilham Aliyev: We co-operate successfully in all fields. Our plans on railway connection are being realized. The projects started jointly by us and implemented successfully in the field of energy have passed already the limits of this region. The strategic friendship and alliance between Georgia and Azerbaijan have become already a very important factor at global level. As a result of strengthening of our ties and the resolution of new issues, more predictable situation can be formed in the region. We are committed to this relationship. As we noted earlier, we connect these ties to deep historical roots. These relations are the relations between peoples. Our luck is explained by the fact that throughout the history, Georgian and Azerbaijani peoples have lived in the conditions of friendship and good neighborhood. They have always respected each other. The relations between our peoples bring its contribution to the bilateral relations.
Of course, we discuss very seriously economic, industrial and political issues. However, at the same time, the co-operation in humanitarian field has a significant meaning. Georgians living in Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis living in Georgia are playing a role of bridge between our countries. They are valuable citizens of our countries. They love their Motherland and fulfill gloriously their patriotic obligations. This means that ties between us are not limited by a specific field. These relations have deep historical roots. We use efficiently current realities and opportunities. We have to try to ensure that next generations should have the same thinking by ensuring the conditions of eternal friendship and brotherhood for Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani Television: My question is for the President of Georgia. Mr. President, how you see the contribution to the development of Georgian economy made by investments of Azerbaijani companies? Thank you.
President Mikheil Saakashvili: The assistance extended by Azerbaijan in toughest times has been decisive for us. This was not a simple assistance. This was a very successful one. It has boosted our bilateral co-operation. The activities of SOCAR in Georgia as well as its work done in our ports are very important. Railway connection project is also very important for us. All these issues have been solved jointly with Azerbaijani companies. As you know, an Azerbaijani company works also in our tourism infrastructure. This is also important for us. All these factors demonstrate not only our political interaction, but also our co-operation and interests between various individuals and in humanitarian field. All these issues are naturally interconnected. It serves to our deeper integration. We see pragmatic and right results of the strategic policy of Azerbaijan. This policy is a wise policy. As a result, we obtain good results practically each day. These results overpass even the interests of both governments because we treat each other as friends and good neighbors. We try to solve issues important for us jointly. All these are substantiated by our ideas. All these issues are elements of a historical process.
I thank all the participants for this press conference. I express my gratitude to Mr. President for visiting Georgia. I hope that you will enjoy our city.
Upon the completion of press conference, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili viewed the models of infrastructure projects planned to be implemented in Batumi.
It was noted that, in recent years, a series of infrastructural projects had been underway to renovate Batumi and carry out reconstruction projects, which serves development of Batumi.