Trend commentator Arzu Naghiyev
Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili was accompanied by Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze, Economy Minister George Kvirikashvili, Diaspora Minister Konstantine Surguladze, director of the Partnership Fund Irakli Kovzanadze, head of the Development and Research Institute Gia Khukhashvili during his official visit to Baku.
The delegation's staff was seeking to resolve problems of mutual interest to both countries.
As a result of the meeting, one can stress that the strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and Georgia will further continue to develop as the chosen course directly meets and reflects the interests of both countries.
Bidzina Ivanishvili met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and other officials during his visit. Cooperation in the energy sector, participation in many international projects, as well as other integration issues between the two countries were discussed during the meetings.
One of the main issues that need to be discussed was the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. As it is known, by connecting the Azerbaijani and Turkish railway systems, it will increase the integration level between the two countries. In fact, this railway fully ensures Azerbaijan's way to Turkey and Europe.
It should be noted for comparison that today, cargo (including some petroleum products) is delivered to Turkey and Europe from and via Azerbaijan by rail to Georgian Black Sea ports. According to statistics, in 2011 74% of cargo unloaded at the port of Batumi or about 450,000 tons, belonged to Azerbaijan. Georgia's exports from Batumi reached 0.3%, or 2,000 tons in 2011.
It is known that this project is one of the most important projects for an independent Georgia and it can create the possibility for communication with Europe on the country's integration into the EU by bypassing Russia.
During the meetings, the parties once again raised this issue, and concluded that the suspension of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway's construction is not on the agenda.
Following the formal meetings, Ivanishvili told reporters: "Earlier I said that maybe after the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, cargo transportation by rail will fall. But it was a hasty statement. In reality, no problems are being experienced in this field".
It can be concluded that construction of this railroad is an important geopolitical project. The Georgian side can hold talks on the project's economic indicators.
One of the issues discussed by the parties during negotiations was tariffs on gas transported to Georgia. This issue also was clarified.
It is known that Azerbaijan sells gas to Georgia at a very affordable price. This is why the prime minister said that the solution for the gas tariff reduction issue has to be sought in Georgia, thanking the Azerbaijani government for the favorable conditions that it sells to Georgia under.
The parties also discussed the demarcation of their borders; considering Azerbaijan's experience in this field, it was noted that no problems will arise with Georgia. It was pointed out that this issue will also favorably be resolved.
Summing up the results of the meetings, it can be said that today, the main issue for Tbilisi is the reduction of its national security risks to a minimum.
After his visit to Azerbaijan, Ivanishvili will visit Armenia to maintain a balance of political interests, and then head to Turkey to fully determine strategy for the region.
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