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Press Office   News   ​President Zourabichvili and President Aliyev Hold Joint Press Conference

​President Zourabichvili and President Aliyev Hold Joint Press Conference

President Salome Zourabichvili and President Ilham Aliyev held a joint press conference in Baku.

President Aliyev opened the conference, speaking about the key topics raised at the meeting with President Zourabichvili and the Georgian state delegation. 

For her part, President Zourabichvili thanked his colleague for a warm reception, stressing that Georgia and Azerbaijan share ties that are strengthened not only through the past and hardships, but also future joint projects.

“Thank you, Mr. President!

We have gone through a historic path together. Geographically, we are close neighbors. History has drawn us closer to one another.

We have achieved successes and gone through hardships over the past centuries. We know what it means and what it takes to build a state. Hardships also draw us closer to one another. We know how much it takes to continue moving forward, develop economy, and preserve culture and identity. In all these, we feel close to one another.

We implemented major projects in the last century, and still continue our cooperation. We prove that this region is stable where serious projects can be implemented. Currently, our major challenge is to implement a large-scale unifying project. This transport corridor is crucial that may become the axis of our cooperation that previously only included the energy sector. Transport has the largest potential in the modern world.

We realize how important it is to unite Asia, China, and Europe, and we are on this path; however, all the means of this path are not yet developed and this depends on us. You mentioned those projects that Azerbaijan carries out in the Caspian Sea and I would like to welcome the agreement reached on the Caspian Sea that is crucial to develop all types of transport in the sea.

For our part, we also work with the EU in order to provide the Black Sea with further opportunities. This will develop transportation among Romanian, Bulgarian and Georgian ports as well as advance Georgia's infrastructure and logistics.

This is a new project, a transport network that will be developed with the help of the EU and investments, but we are ready to use the benefits of free trade agreements with China and the EU together with Azerbaijan.

I invited Mr. President to 2019 Batumi International Conference, marking the 10th anniversary of the Neighborhood Policy and our partnership with the European Union. Transportation will be a key topic raised at the Conference, where we can present our joint vision on this matter.
 
Mr. President suggested our joint delegation to travel to China and present our view there. All these efforts are crucial to transform the current potential into reality.

We also discussed humanitarian relations, culture, and education – areas that should be developed. Georgia-Azerbaijan relations in these areas are not as developed as our economic relations. Both of our countries should put efforts to further develop our humanitarian and cultural ties.

We talked about Azerbaijani Days that should be held not only in Tbilisi, but also, as planned, in Batumi. Georgian Days should also be held in Azerbaijan and this tradition should become frequent in order to advance our cultural relations.   

I also spoke about my suggestion to add Georgian tolerance to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. Tolerance is a shared value in the Caucasus, therefore, my initiative may be generalized and include the Caucasus. This will be an important message voiced from our region to the world, as tolerance is a value that the modern world lacks.

Our conversation also touched upon tourisms and prospects for further activating exchange visits between our countries.

We decided to call on the Commission on Delimitation and Demarcation of Georgia’s State Border to resume activities and finally set boundaries between Georgia and Azerbaijan. This should be a boundary of unity and not separation. It is normal to put an end to this issue, considering our friendly relations.

I would like to thank Mr. President for a warm welcome. I believe that this is a beginning of new and closer relations and friendship.

Having this hope, I would like to end my first address,” President Zourabichvili said.

According to President Aliyev, Georgia and Azerbaijan, through joint efforts, implement large-scale projects that are crucial not only for the two countries, but also for the continent.

"Looking back at history, we will see that the construction of Baku–Supsa Pipeline was a huge event in the 90’s that allowed us to connect the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea. Afterwards, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines were built. Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey have implemented these projects through joint efforts and today these projects enhance our economic development. The Southern Gas Corridor gradually develops successfully. This is the largest infrastructural project in the region.

Opening ceremony of the Southern Gas Corridor was held last year. The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), the central part of the Southern Gas Corridor, will enable gas transportation. These projects are crucial for our countries and the region, further deepening our cooperation. Three countries cooperated when these projects were launched, now new partners have joined us.

Today, we pay special attention to transportation. This is the topic of negotiations. These projects bring numerous benefits to our countries. As for the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, trade turnover is increased and even though we are at the first stage, we already see its benefits.  

Considering all before mentioned, we are on the right path.

After opening the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway, Azerbaijan reached an agreement with its neighbors, countries in the East of the Caspian Sea. As a result of this agreement, trade turnover will be further increased.

This new corridor will enable us to unite continents and also enable Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to continue cooperation in a traditional friendly framework.

We exchanged views on numerous issues, including cooperation in humanitarian area, culture, education, and tourism. Azeris living in Georgia and Georgians living in Azerbaijan play an important role in developing our ties.

Azerbaijan and Georgia are multi-ethnic and multi-religious countries. Different peoples feel themselves comfortable in our countries and this an important precondition for our countries' future development.

I am glad that Madam President will visit our regions to meet with ethnic Georgians. This, of course, will be a crucial event for them as well. I am sure you will explore this region and hopefully, it will make a good impression on you.

In short, we have prospects for cooperation in all the areas and also have a political will.

Georgia and Azerbaijan will support one another in the future as well. We will implement new projects and I am sure our peoples will have a prosperous future. This visit is key for our relations.

Once again, Madam President, welcome,” President Aliyev said.
 
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