President of Azerbaijan pays official visit to Georgia
"Our relations will withstand any difficulties,’’ President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili said at a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who paid an official visit to Georgia on Thursday, the first in the last ten years.
"I've been waiting for this visit for a long time and I am sure it will deepen and give new impetus to the exemplary relations between our countries," Giorgi Margvelashvili noted.
Margvelashvili said the most important factor in the further strengthening of bilateral cooperation is ‘‘joint projects in energy and infrastructure.’’ ‘‘We thank Azerbaijan not only for partnership in these areas, but also for projects that Azerbaijan has in Georgia" the Georgian leader underlined, referring to the multidimensional activities of Azerbaijani companies, particularly SOCAR.
The Georgian president promised that ‘‘despite territorial problems,’' his country "remains faithful to the transit function and fulfills all its obligations in this area." "We also discussed security in the region,’’ Georgian leader pointed out. "We respect the territorial integrity of each other and are committed to the principles of inviolability of borders, as well as the peaceful resolution of all conflicts,’’ the Georgian President said.
"I hope the results of our meeting will have a fruitful impact upon relations between the two countries," the President of Azerbaijan said. Ilham Aliyev noted that Georgia was "a close strategic partner." "We want to deepen and broaden our cooperation," the President of Azerbaijan said, noting there are "many issues on the Azerbaijan-Georgia agenda that need to be discussed." As an example, the head of the Azerbaijani Republic pointed out ‘‘transit opportunities between the two states.’’
Ilham Aliyev stressed that Azerbaijan ‘‘has huge reserves of gas’’: "We can supply gas not only to our neighbors, but also the whole of Europe for a hundred years,’’ the Azerbaijani leader said, responding to statements by members of the Georgian government, including the Minister of Energy, the former defender of FC Milan Kakha Kaladze, that Azerbaijan ‘‘doesn't have enough natural gas to meet all the needs of Georgia."
President Aliyev described the investment climate in the neighboring country, as "very favorable for investments." "The cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia will increase the geopolitical importance of our countries, strengthening the reliability of the South Caucasus transport corridor," Ilham Aliyev concluded, adding: ‘‘We have no conflicts with Georgia. We are friends and brothers." According to him, all conflicts, including in Azerbaijan and Georgia, must be settled on the basis of the principle of the territorial integrity of states. The historical land of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, has been occupied for many years. Unfortunately, this conflict remains unresolved, despite the involvement of international organizations,’’ Ilham Aliyev added.
Despite the overall positive atmosphere of the visit, many people noticed an important detail: yPresident of Azerbaijan paid his official visit to Georgia without first lady Mehriban Aliyeva, who is highly respected and popular in Georgia.