President Ilham Aliyev to visit Georgia, says FM (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on 15:18)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.19

By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:

The strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia is increasingly developing from day to day, Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told reporters Oct.19.

Mammadyarov made the remarks following the meeting with his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

"We had fruitful negotiations on cooperation in the economic sphere," he said. "Azerbaijan and Georgia should soon present the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project to the world, Central Asia and China."

Furthermore, the foreign minister said that Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev will pay a visit to Georgia Nov.6.

"We discussed the preparations for this visit, as well as the draft bilateral agreements to be signed during that visit," said Mammadyarov.

Following the press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Kvirikashvili, for his part, said that Georgia and Azerbaijan have reaffirmed their mutual respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of each other.

"The two countries intend to continue and develop the cooperation and play an important role in the energy transit projects," said Georgia's foreign minister. "Our countries will continue to make every effort to play transit role between Europe and Asia."

Mammadyarov said Azerbaijan hopes that the construction of the Turkish section of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be completed as soon as possible.

"This project is a very important transport corridor and we have agreed to speed up its implementation," Azerbaijan's foreign minister said.

Kvirikashvili in turn said that Georgia has constructed its section as part of this project and hopes that the railway's Turkish section will be constructed by late 2015 or early 2016.

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.

The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani president's decree 'On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities' dated February 21, 2007.

A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia that will increase its capacity to 15 million tons of cargo per year. A depot is under construction in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.

The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.

Edited by SI

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