Ilham Aliyev and President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili made statements for the press

27 February 2013, 17:20
Ilham Aliyev and President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili made statements for the press

After the meeting in an expanded format, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili made statements for the press.

Statement by President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Mr. President, distinguished guests!

I would like to welcome you to Azerbaijan again. I say to you – welcome to Azerbaijan. We attach great importance to your visit. You are a great friend of Azerbaijan. We have had numerous meetings with you in the last nine years – in Georgia, in Azerbaijan and in other cities. And today’s meeting and your official visit are a logical continuation of our previous meetings.

Over these years Georgian-Azerbaijani relations have covered a long and successful road. These relations rest on a very solid foundation. Our peoples have been together for centuries, have always supported each other, and we are building our modern relations on this historically strong basis. In the years of independence Georgia and Azerbaijan have reached the level of strategic partnership. This strategic partnership is developing and strengthening today. I am sure that the development of these relations in the coming years will become an important factor for both Georgia and Azerbaijan because our successful development is only possible through unity. A great deal of work has been done in recent years to strengthen this unity and cooperation. We have exchanged views on that today. Different projects are being implemented. The projects being implemented in the energy and transport sectors are both strengthening our countries and serving the well-being and prosperity of our peoples. At the same time, they have a positive impact on the developments unfolding in the region. The projects we are executing jointly are particularly important for the deepening of stability, peace and cooperation in the region. Today it is impossible to imagine our countries and the region, the European continent without the projects we are implementing together. We have made tremendous collective effort to resolve energy issues, and we have made great strides in that. The construction of oil and gas pipelines and the solution of energy security issues – all this has been achieved as a result of our collective effort.

We have now started the implementation of a new major project. I am sure that the TANAP project will open up great opportunities for Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Europe. At the same time, a lot has been done to address transport issues. I am sure that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be completed successfully and this will be a matter of great importance for Georgia and Azerbaijan, for the region and the world as a whole.

Our international cooperation is also expanding. We always support each other in international organizations. Foreign political consultations are continuously held at various levels, and this is a very successful initiative that has produced excellent results. They lie in the fact that we always support and protect each other in all international organizations. And this is having a very positive impact on the relationship between our countries.

Along with all the other matters, we have once again addressed these issues. We see that Georgia and Azerbaijan, as two friendly, brotherly and partner countries, are successfully moving forward. A lot has been done under your leadership in Georgia in recent years, reforms have been conducted. Georgia has achieved great development. Political processes are going in a positive direction. You have also achieved a great success in the implementation of infrastructure projects. The city of Tbilisi is getting prettier with every day. Batumi is also becoming more beautiful by the day. The photographs of new projects you have shown me today once again demonstrate what a great job has been done. The reforms conducted in different spheres in Georgia in recent years are studied not only in the CIS, but also in other regions. And you own an exceptional contribution to the implementation of these reforms. These reforms have been conducted on your initiative. Of course, in the future these reforms will contribute to the transformation of Georgia into a developed country.

I want to say again that we have met many times in recent years and always had a very candid exchange of views. The decisions made during these meetings have largely strengthened both Georgia and Azerbaijan. I am sure that these positive trends will be continued in the coming years too. Our two friendly and brotherly countries, Georgia and Azerbaijan, as always, will be together, will develop in the same direction and all the processes, all the issues within our countries will be successfully resolved.

Welcome once again. I warmly welcome all our guests again.

Statement by President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili

- Thank you very much, Mr. President! It is a great honor for me to once again pay a visit to Baku. It is very important for me to pay a visit to a friendly country. Today Mr. Ilham Aliyev and I had a very interesting conversation. I believe that the head of the Azerbaijani state, a worthy successor to his father, is working very successfully. The course laid down by Heydar Aliyev is being successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev. It is thanks to your work that Azerbaijani statehood has been strengthened. And this is the main thing.

Today, the development of Baku, the infrastructure projects carried out in the country, as well as the improving well-being of the Azerbaijani people are very important, because Azerbaijan is an important country in the region and globally, it is the author of a number of strategic initiatives. Azerbaijan has made an exceptional contribution to the creation of a positive atmosphere in the region and in the wider Eurasian space. At the same time, Azerbaijan is a guarantor of our independence and development, and I wish to express my appreciation to all of you, especially you, Mr. President. I have been touched by what you said about the reforms carried out in Georgia. We remember our visits very well, we have repeatedly walked in the streets of Baku. A number of ideas and thoughts have emerged as a direct result of our visits to Baku. I do hope that the development of your country will some time be reflected in our country too. Naturally, we appear to be the weaker side in this competition. But I hope that the development will be continued.

No matter who is in power in Georgia, the friendship between our country and Azerbaijan will live on. It is impossible to find a country that would be closer to Georgia than Azerbaijan. This is not just a statement, not just words. In the last 10 years, no country in the world has done as much for Georgia as Azerbaijan, has not given us as much support as Azerbaijan. We have many partners and friends. But no country has helped Georgia as much as Azerbaijan. And this, Mr. President, has been done thanks to you. I am very pleased that the Prime Minister of Georgia has also paid a visit to Azerbaijan and seen firsthand the development ongoing here. This has also allowed us to continue our friendship.

It is also very important to complete the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which is a revolutionary project. I do hope that the project will be completed by the end of the year. This is a historic opportunity for our two countries, it is our gateways to Europe, our entry into the European continent. So I think that any obstacles impeding this project run counter to our national interests. This could be a disaster. Therefore, I think that questioning this project is tantamount to a crime. I believe that this project has no alternative. Opposing actions may betray our national interests. I have no doubt that this project is our way into Europe and NATO, and it will be completed in an atmosphere of close collaboration. At the same time, our partner and friend Turkey also plays an important role in this project. I have no doubt that this project will be completed.

Today, the economic security of Georgia has been provided by Azerbaijan. In the cold winter months we were saved by the dedication of Azerbaijan, it has become a kind of salvation of the Georgian nation and Georgian state. Once again I want to emphasize that Georgia's territorial integrity has not been supported by any country as much as it has been supported by Azerbaijan. The issue of territorial integrity is a very important issue.
If we talk about the Caucasus, territorial integrity is the fundamental principle and it must prevail. Our policy in this area is clear.

Thanks to the oil and gas pipelines, Georgia has strategic and economic importance, and I want to stress again that this has been made possible thanks to Azerbaijan.

Of course, the current political situation in Georgia is complicated. But I want to reiterate that no factor can jeopardize the Georgian-Azerbaijani friendship. I want to stress again that Georgia's future, the development of the Georgian statehood is impossible without Azerbaijan. I want to emphasize this again. In the past we lost our independence precisely because we were unable to work closely together. But in recent years we have strengthened our friendship so much, we have built it on such a strong foundation that this friendship is indestructible and eternal. Mr. President, I want to emphasize your role once again. Thanks to you we can talk about that, and I am confident that future generations will also appreciate that. I have no doubt about that.

Thank you very much again, Mr. President and the people of Azerbaijan. Thank you for your attention.