Baku. Anakhanum Hidayatova - APA. APA’s interview with Georgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Teymuraz Sharashenidze
- How do you assess the current level of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia?
- There are fairly high and stable relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia. Historical, geopolitical, economic and cultural commonality of our countries and peoples shows that we have had friendly relations for many centuries. Relations between the two countries have reached the level of strategic partnership covering political, economic, social and humanitarian spheres. Various meetings were held at the highest levels this year, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade attended the inauguration ceremony of Georgia's president-elect. All these indicate close cooperation. I consider that Azerbaijan-Georgia relations can be taken as an example of neighborhood not only in the region, but also all over the world.
- When will the next meeting of the Commission on delimitation and demarcation of borders take place?
- The Commission continues its activity. Experts have recently held a meeting. The Georgian side has submitted proposals to the Azerbaijani colleagues and we are waiting for a response. The date of the meeting will be fixed after getting response. It is important to increase the pace and I think both sides are ready for it. The main thing is that the Commission continues its activity within the plan approved by the foreign ministers of the two countries.
- What is the level of economic relations between the two countries?
- Our economic relations are at the high level, the trade turnover is increasing every year. The trade turnover reached $1 billion during the ten months of the current year. There is a potential for the development of cooperation in this regard. Speaking of the economic relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia, Southern Transport Corridor should be definitely noted. Two major events occurred in the last two weeks. A high-voltage substation was opened in Akhaltsikhe, Georgia on December 11. It will allow exporting energy along with oil and gas from Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey and Europe in the future. Georgia isn’t only a transit country, but also a producing and delivering country in this issue. The delegation led by Energy Minister Natig Aliyev represented Azerbaijan at the event. The second important event was the signing of final investment decision on Shah Deniz 2 project in Baku on December 17. The conclusion of this event also attended by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili will be supply of the European Union countries with Azerbaijani gas.
As regards Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project, I can say that this is one of the projects of the century. This project will be completed late in 2014 and we will witness that railway of the new, modern Silk Road passes through the territories of our countries.
- What documents are expected to be signed between Azerbaijan and Georgia?
- There exists full-scale agreement/legal framework between Azerbaijan and Georgia. But taking into account realities changing under internal and external conditions, this framework can be updated and new agreements can be signed. Currently, taking into account new realities, agreements in the field of customs service, ecology and communications are being prepared for signing.
- What role does the Azerbaijani diaspora play in socio-political life of Georgia?
- Like Azerbaijan, Georgia is a multinational country. Georgian Azerbaijanis are a large ethnic group, in many cases they determine the development of our country. They are represented in all spheres of our country’s socio-political life, including legislative and executive authorities. Georgian Azerbaijanis love their country and I am proud of it.
-What can you say about the position of Tbilisi on the solution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict?
-Our position is resolute and obvious. Georgia supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity within the internationally-recognized borders. Nagorno Karabakh conflict must be solved only peacefully within the international law. Blood has been shed in the South Caucasus for centuries. In our modern history there were wars between Azerbaijan and Armenia, between Russia and Georgia. It is high time to solve the disputed issues through negotiations in the 21st century.