Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Prime Minister,
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, dear Prime Minister, I sincerely welcome you to Azerbaijan. Welcome to Azerbaijan!
Our meetings are regular. Six months ago, we were your guests in Georgia, and today you are visiting Azerbaijan. When I was in Georgia, I visited the Mtskheta district. Today you are visiting the Gabala district. I think this is a very good tradition. Because in this way, we get to know the fascinating historical sites of both Georgia and Azerbaijan, and this strengthens our friendship even more.
Georgia and Azerbaijan have been in close contact for many years. We are friends and allies, and brotherly ties bind our peoples. All issues discussed have one goal – to deepen bilateral cooperation and take all necessary steps for the future of our peoples.
Many important issues have been discussed today, and we will build our future activities based on the agreements reached.
Of course, Georgia and Azerbaijan are countries that play an essential role in European energy security today, and this role is gradually growing. Of course, our friendly relations and cooperation in this field significantly contribute to Europe's energy security. The export of Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe is increasing by the year. This year, Azerbaijan will export 24.5 billion cubic meters of gas to world markets, and this figure is increasing year by year.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the European Union last year, we must ensure the transportation of 20 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe alone by 2027, and I am sure that we will reach this figure.
Considering the current geopolitical situation, of course, energy security issues have come to the fore for all countries. Azerbaijani company SOCAR has been successfully operating in Georgia for many years. According to the information I received yesterday, SOCAR has built 11,000 kilometers of gas pipelines in Georgia and thus provides natural gas to more than 830,000 households and businesses.
In the future, we will actively work on new directions of cooperation in the energy field. Rather, this work has already begun. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania signed an important agreement at the end of last year. The first steering committee meeting on the green energy project was held in Baku in February. This is a large-scale project. Of course, the successful implementation of this project may be possible thanks to the cooperation of all four countries. At the same time, as you know, the European Union attaches great importance to this project. It is no coincidence that the President of the European Commission also participated in the signing ceremony.
Of course, an important part of our bilateral relations is transportation. Here too, all work is going on successfully and according to plan. Georgia and Azerbaijan are working successfully on the implementation of the Middle Corridor. Of course, at the next stage, additional steps will be taken to increase the volume of cargo transportation.
I visited the countries of Central Asia many times last year and this year, and I will visit more countries this year. Therefore, there are ample opportunities for transporting new goods along the Middle Corridor. All administrative issues should be resolved, and the tariff policy should be resolved from a single perspective. At the same time, joint effort should be made to attract and transport cargo. Of course, this issue has been and will be extensively discussed today.
These are the critical activity directions. However, Georgia-Azerbaijan relations are not limited to that. Our relations cover many areas – defense industry, education, culture, tourism, technologies, and agriculture. Of course, necessary steps are being taken to increase our trade turnover. I am sure that today's visit by the Prime Minister will give a new impetus to our relations.
Dear Prime Minister, you are welcome again!
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Statement by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili
- Mr. President, my dear friend, it is very nice to see you.
Dear Mr. Aliyev, I am honored to be visiting this charming region of your country today. I would like to thank my friend, the President of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, for the hospitality extended to us.
You rightly mentioned that you visited Georgia a few months ago. It is already a new tradition that we are visiting not only the capitals but also the regions of our countries. It is a great initiative, and the fact that we are here today is proof of that.
I would like to emphasize again that such friendly and fraternal relations with Azerbaijan and the people of Azerbaijan are very important to us. Our friendship has an ancient history, and Azerbaijan is not only our neighbor and friend, but it is also an important strategic partner. For many years, we have implemented historical projects in various fields, and these projects have brought our peoples and countries even closer together. We are interdependent in a good way, and I am sure this will continue to be the case for many years to come. We have mentioned these important projects many times.
It is known that Georgia is also a reliable transit country and transit partner. As mentioned by Mr. President, we continue this activity and do not stop. As you may know, we will lay an electric cable under the Black Sea. We are developing the issue of the Middle Corridor. We have a vast potential to transport green energy to Europe, which has excellent prospects. This is the future. Both countries will invest more in this area. We have discussed that too.
In addition, of course, we discussed the situation in the region. The current situation in Ukraine has also been discussed, as there are risks and challenges – challenges that did not exist after World War II. Our main task is to ensure peace and stability because, without these, there can be no talk of development and prosperity.
We must create jobs and ensure the prosperity of our people. We have the same vision in this field. We are interested in closer relations between our countries.
I would also like to add that we are working together on the Middle Corridor project in a coordinated manner. Our goal in the near future is to remove all obstacles and jointly develop the infrastructure – our seaports and railways. As you know, we are working on the construction of a new port in Georgia. In a year, we will implement the railway expansion project. The operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be expanded, and we will be able to attract more cargo through the Middle Corridor.
I would like to reiterate that our primary goal is to ensure peace and stability in the region. We need to implement more projects in the region, and we will carry out our work in a wonderful atmosphere of brotherhood.
Mr. President, let me once again express my immense gratitude to you. This year you are celebrating the 100th anniversary of your genius father, Heydar Aliyev, in your country. You are our friend, and Heydar Aliyev was also a great friend of Georgia. I wish you and the people of Azerbaijan peace and stability. Thank you for your attention.