Joint press statements of Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze

16 March 2024, 14:50

Statement by President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Mr. Prime Minister.

Dear guests.

First of all, Mr. Prime Minister, I sincerely welcome you to Azerbaijan. I am delighted that you are visiting Azerbaijan immediately after becoming Prime Minister. Thank you for that. At the same time, I cordially congratulate you on your new appointment as Prime Minister.

Your visit is very important. We discussed many issues extensively during our one-on-one meeting. As two independent states, Georgia and Azerbaijan always stand by each other, our friendship and brotherhood are based on deep historical roots. Our peoples have lived in an atmosphere of friendship and good neighborliness for centuries, and our interstate relations have been built on this solid foundation.

Today, both our countries not only ensure their economic development through joint efforts but have also emerged as important states for the region and, in a broader sense, for the Eurasian continent. Our joint infrastructure projects, transport and energy projects, are of tremendous importance for many countries, and further steps will be taken in this direction. The new infrastructure that has already been created and will be created in the future, especially in the field of transportation, will open up valuable opportunities for many countries. In particular, the fact that the expanded Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will start operating after a month or two is one of the significant achievements. As I said, in a couple of months, the capacity of this railway will be increased from 1 to 5 million tons. At the same time, the operation of this railway will be attractive to many countries.

At the beginning of this month, the traditional Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council was held in Baku and Georgia was represented at a high level in this event. All the participants witnessed again that Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Türkiye had a special role as initiators of this project. Azerbaijani gas is being exported to several countries via Georgia. Overall, the number of countries receiving Azerbaijani gas has reached eight, and this is not the limit. In the near future, the number of these countries will increase, as the demand for Azerbaijan's energy will increase year after year. We are well aware of the specifics of the world energy markets. We know very well that the demand for Azerbaijani gas on the European continent will increase year on year. We have the resources, we have the financial means to invest, and we have reliable friends such as Georgia, which have extensive transit capabilities. Given these circumstances, our energy projects will continue to ensure the energy security of many countries, with Georgia and Azerbaijan acting as two reliable partners.

Of course, we are also working on new projects. One of them is the green energy project. Here, Georgia and Azerbaijan, together with other countries, have started the implementation of a large-scale project. I believe that successful projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, Southern Gas Corridor, and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will serve as examples for the green energy project, which will, in turn, be executed with equal success. There is also an enormous demand for this. Both Georgia and Azerbaijan have extensive renewable energy potential, and we are currently working on a feasibility study. I believe that this work will be completed by the end of the year, and then tangible steps will be taken.

I would also like to touch upon another issue. Thanks to well-thought-out reforms, stability, peace, and security have been achieved in Georgia. This is a tremendous achievement, especially considering the current geopolitical situation, and we congratulate our Georgian brothers on all these successes.

Our turnover is also increasing. It is now close to $900 million, having increased by almost 15 percent over last year. As a result of the well-thought-out reform policy of the Government of Georgia, a favorable investment climate has been created in the country. Azerbaijani businesses have invested 3.4 billion dollars in the Georgian economy. Of course, the main reason for this is the existence of a good investment climate.

Also today, we once again expressed mutual support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our countries, and I want to repeat this to the media. At all times, we have made statements supporting each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of borders. We have supported each other during voting in various international organizations, and this support will be continued. No country's sovereign territory can be changed by force. Norms of international law should form the basis for every country and there can be no discrimination. As a country that has suffered from occupation for many years and restored its territorial integrity and sovereignty, Azerbaijan knows perfectly well that in some cases international law is restored by force. This option is also completely legitimate. The UN Charter recognizes the right of every country to self-defense, and Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity using this right.

I want to say again that the visit of the Prime Minister of Georgia, the leader of a friendly, neighboring, and brotherly country, is of great importance. I am sure that our personal acquaintance, which began today, will turn into friendship, because our peoples are friendly peoples. Members of our delegation have been in contact with each other for many years and maintain friendly relations. The two brotherly countries will move forward shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, and solve all the tasks ahead together.

Once again, Mr. Prime Minister, accept my greetings and welcome to Azerbaijan!

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Statement by Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze

- Dear Mr. President.

Dear representatives of the media.

I am very happy to be visiting Azerbaijan after being elected Prime Minister. It was very important to pay one of my first visits to Azerbaijan. I am grateful to President Ilham Aliyev for the hospitality shown to us.

Mr. President, as you mentioned, our countries share historical bonds of friendship, and these bonds are built on a very solid foundation. I am sure that these relations will continue in the same spirit. Currently, we have a very good dialogue in political, economic, and other fields. We have positive momentum. We intend to further deepen this cooperation and partnership.

I would like to mention the political partnership between our countries again. I would like to thank Azerbaijan and its President for always supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. As you know, Georgia has always supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Today, we had a very productive meeting and touched upon various topics. We also discussed global political events between our brotherly countries. Partnership and friendship between our countries are also very important in that global context. Special attention should be paid to issues of peace, and this is our position. We have tried to contribute to stability as much as possible. We will continue this in our region in the future.

There are a number of projects we have laid the foundation for together, and they are of strategic importance. We have major plans for the future. Mr. President and I have discussed several projects where we have the opportunity to participate together. Work in this field is also very important for us. At the same time, we have discussed the issue of trade. Azerbaijan is among Georgia’s top five trading partners, and we are coming confident that these numbers will increase. We also have substantial potential in the fields of transport and energy, and Mr. President has already mentioned this. This work will be continued. Mutual visits will be continued. The meetings of delegations will be continued so that our cooperation in these areas can be deepened. We are fully ready to take this cooperation forward.

I do hope that Mr. President can visit Georgia soon. I have already invited him. It would be a great honor for us. This visit will once again serve to deepen our cooperation. I want to emphasize again that our partnership is at an excellent level. Of course, there is always potential, and we will continue to do our best to deepen this friendship, cooperation, and partnership.

Mr. President, thank you again for your hospitality.