Statement by President Mikheil Saakashvili
- I would like to welcome the head of the Azerbaijani state, our brother. The long-term cooperation we have established has already yielded positive results between Baku and Batumi. As you may know, businessmen from Baku work in Batumi. At the same time, business people from Batumi work in Baku. The vessels that have left the port of Batumi are already on their way. This is also the result of cooperation between Baku and Tbilisi. All this is part of our cooperation program.
At present, very positive changes are taking place in Baku, and we are very pleased to see them. Development is also under way in Batumi. We are also trying to achieve development in all areas.
Today, we have held talks, and will open an office of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic in Batumi. This ceremony will be held in a historic building. With the consent of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, we have created the necessary infrastructure for that and are absolutely sure that this office will operate successfully in Batumi.
Mr. President, we are very glad to have you here – please accept our congratulations on this occasion. We have been friends for many years. This friendship has a long history and has passed many ordeals. Georgia will never forget Azerbaijan’s help when our energy infrastructure was blown up, when the Georgian people found themselves in a dire situation in cold winter. I am absolutely sure that the people of Georgia will never forget this help. We will never forget this help because it was provided at the most difficult time in Georgia’s history. Azerbaijan made a very important decision then and came to Georgia’s help at such a difficult time. This is not only a result of strategic partnership, but also a symbol of our fraternity. We have even established confederative relations.
Our relations are broader than ordinary ties. We are sure that we will continue helping each other. Azerbaijan’s problem is also a problem for Georgia. At the same time, a difficult problem for Georgia is a difficult problem for Azerbaijan.
Today, we have also emphasized that the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is necessary. We think that the relevant Azerbaijani authority, the State Railway Department, can also take part in this. At the same time, we have indicated that 70 per cent of Georgia’s needs for natural gas are met thanks to Azerbaijani gas. As you may know, Soviet motor-roads will now be renovated. Therefore, we will bring all transit routes to an operable condition to ensure that the road from China can access Europe via Azerbaijan and Georgia.
All this has become possible thanks to our relations. There are no problems between our countries. In recent years our relations have reached the highest possible level, and we will continue working on that. Of course, the foundation of these relations was laid by Heydar Aliyev. We will do our best to ensure that the relations of friendship we have had for centuries develop further. Thanks to Heydar Aliyev’s strategic views, these relations have become stronger, while as a result of the tremendous effort made by Ilham Aliyev, they have strengthened even further. We are absolutely sure that these relations will develop in the interests of stability in our region.
Let me welcome you to Georgia again – welcome! You know Georgia very well, so make yourself at home.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Thank you very much, Mr. President and dear friend! First of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation to visit Georgia. I am very pleased to be in Batumi again. The changes and the development I have seen are very gratifying for me as a friend. This is the result of your work as president. Batumi is becoming increasingly beautiful and comfortable. Modern buildings and hotels are under construction, a wonderful infrastructure is being created. I visited Batumi two years ago and can now draw comparisons. What I have seen is gratifying, because your success is ours too. Thanks to your activities, Georgia has become a very attractive country for foreign investors. Billions are being invested in Georgia, and the confidence of foreign companies means a lot. This is evidence that there is a strong faith in a successful and stable development of Georgia.
I am very pleased that there are Azerbaijani companies among those investing in Georgia. Azerbaijani companies treat Georgia with a great interest, invest in it with a great enthusiasm. The volume of this investment is growing by the day. Of course, first investment was made in the energy sector, but I do hope that Azerbaijani companies will also invest in other spheres.
The relations between us have a long history. For centuries our peoples lived in friendship and brotherhood, have always helped each other and been together. This memory is very important today. Two rapidly developing independent states, Georgia and Azerbaijan, are cooperating in all areas today. Our cooperation is multi-faceted, covers all spheres and, as I mentioned earlier, rests on a solid historic foundation. Our goal is to develop the traditional relations of friendship and fraternity between our peoples, lend them a new content and thus make the best of Georgian-Azerbaijani strategic cooperation.
We are bound together by major international projects which we have implemented together. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa oil pipelines, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline are not only securing the interests of Georgia and Azerbaijan, but are also contributing to energy security. Thanks to the successful realization of these projects, we have launched railway initiatives. One of the issues we have discussed today was the cooperation in electricity issues. We are very interested and enthusiastic about cooperation in other spheres as well. I am sure that all the issues on the agenda will be resolved. We can say this with confidence because we have tackled all arising issues together and through effective coordination.
The present situation in the region and the high level of bilateral relations require us to look ahead, identify and implement new projects and thus further strengthen the relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan.
I would like to repeat that I am very pleased to visit fraternal Georgia again. I am sure that under your leadership Georgia will continue developing successfully and all the tasks you have set will be accomplished successfully. Thank you.