Why Georgian president chose Azerbaijan?
Immediately after returning from Europe, where she visited France and Germany, President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili went to Baku to meet with President Ilham Aliyev and other authorities of the neighboring state. Georgian experts consider it natural that head of Georgia, who, according to reliable data, had invitations from other neighboring and regional states, chose Azerbaijan.
Expert on the Caucasus Mamuka Areshidze said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza that Salome Zurabishvili held high positions in the French Foreign Ministry in recent past and for many years was a key employee of the France's NATO office. “But most importantly, she has a lot of contacts with French and other European elites. And not only in diplomatic circles,” Areshidze said. According to him, considering the role that France played in the success of Zurabishvili’s presidential campaign and attention paid to her by current President of France, Emmanuel Macron, as well as former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who attended her inauguration, “it’s not surprising that President Zurabishvili, despite symbolism of her powers in the parliamentary republic, is viewed as an interesting partner by Georgia's neighbors."
“In a sense, Zurabishvili is a part of French politics,” he continued. “She has ambitions to promote development of regional projects, initiated by Baku.” Mamuka Areshidze recalled that in a recent statement, Zurabishvili supported the “Peaceful Caucasus” concept, which is based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
“It's known that Salome Zurabishvili never visits countries without a reason. The fact that Baku was chosen shows that she believes Azerbaijan's participation is crucial for realistic and necessary implementation of the "Peaceful Caucasus" concept.
Now Georgian media are actively quoting Zurabishvili’s statements made in Baku, especially focusing on her mentioning “new prospects” of the region and her words about “fraternal relations” between Azerbaijan and Georgia.