Georgian Economic Minister: “Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be put into operation during next 1.5 years” - INTERVIEW

Georgian Economic Minister: “Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be put into operation during next 1.5 years” - <font color=red>INTERVIEW</font>
# 26 April 2011 12:10 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Habil Suleymanov – APA-Economics. Georgia’s Economic Development Minister Vera Kobalia’s interview to APA-Economics.

- Mrs. Kobalia, what can you say about the level of current economic-trade relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia? How satisfied are you with bilateral commodity circulation?

- Certain decay was observed in this sphere some years ago. 2008-2009 were difficult for us by the reason of global crisis. Commodity circulation had declined. However, this situation started to change in 2010. Economic growth made 6%. GDP increases quickly in Azerbaijan, too. Of course, all of these influence the economic-trade relations between our countries positively. At present, Azerbaijan is the second foreign trade partner of Georgia, after Turkey. I suppose that, the commodity circulation between our countries will increase. There is a fertile ground for it. I met with Azerbaijani ministers of Transport and Economic Development, in Baku. We came to such conclusion that Azerbaijan-Georgia relations may be considered as example for other countries. We have no any problem in our relations and any difficulty will be solved immediately.

- Construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is continued for some years. But it has not been possible to finish this regional project to join three countries so far and the reason of postponement is financial problems occurred in fulfilment of railway route passing through Georgia. When will the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway put into operation?

- We discussed this issue with Azerbaijani transport minister. Of course, there were certain difficulties, here. But, we eliminated the problems. We approved out purpose that Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be put into operation during next 1.5 yaers. This project will play an important role in development of commodity circulation among Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. That’s why we consider this project important. We’ll not grudge our efforts to complete the project, soon.

- Recently, SOCAR invested a lot of capital in Georgian economy. How do you asses SOCAR’s role in Georgian market?

- We are satisfied with SOCAR’s activity in Georgia. This company engages in gasifying of many regions of Georgia. Of course, local population approaches to this positively. SOCAR also operates in other directions and invests capital in Georgian economy. It’s not surprising that, SOCAR is one of the greatest investors of the world.

- Is there any cooperation plan or project in non-oil sector between the two countries?

- As you know, Georgian agricultural sector develops recently and export opportunities in this sphere increase. We have already offered Azerbaijani side to construct joint logistics centres for transportation of agricultural goods. These centres may be as regional distributor for transit and export and import of these goods.

- Which measures does Georgia take in the direction of improvement of financial welfare of country citizens, as well as citizens from Azerbaijan?

- Improvement of financial welfare of country citizens is one of the main priorities of Georgian government. Now, we direct our main efforts to solve the social problems. Our policy can be concerned to regions where Azerbaijanis live in. We reconstruct the infrastructure and realize the construction of education centres. I think, the construction of roads and schools are able to change the people’s life to positive.