Azerbaijani, Georgian, Turkish FMs pledge closer ties

Fri 29 Mar 2013 03:02 GMT | 07:02 Local Time

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Foreign ministers signed the sectoral cooperation action plan for 2013-2015

Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey met in Georgia’s Black Sea resort town of Batumi, close to the Turkish border, on March 28 and pledged to further deepen cooperation between the three countries.

During the trilateral ministerial meeting, which was second of this type after the first one in Trabzon nine months ago, the foreign ministers signed the sectoral cooperation action plan for 2013-2015, laying out measures for deepening ties in various fields ranging from economy, energy and environmental protection to culture.

“Georgia’s close and friendly relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan are based on strategic partnership,” Maia Panjikidze, the Georgian Foreign Minister, said at a joint news conference after the trilateral meeting.

“This is a very good example of fruitful cooperation, which we can make in the region,” Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said.

“That’s also probably the message to our neighbors in Armenia that it would be better for them to join the club rather than getting out of the club,” Mammadyarov said, adding that resolving of the conflicts would help to promote prosperity in the region.

“It is unique platform of cooperation,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.

He said that the foreign ministers of three countries “achieved a lot” during the meeting in Batumi, including “a comprehensive” action plan for sectoral cooperation.

He expressed hope that this cooperation would further strengthen not only between these three countries, but also become a platform for cooperation for others in the region, “because objective of this platform is to create zone of prosperity and harmony”, based on mutual respect and respect of territorial integrity.

The Turkish Foreign Minister said that during the meeting the three ministers also discussed issues related to mutual support in various international organizations. He said that Ankara would continue supporting “Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Georgia and Azerbaijan.”

A joint communiqué of the three foreign ministers, adopted upon conclusion of the meeting, notes importance of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, which is currently under construction, saying that this regional rail link, connecting Azerbaijan and Turkey via Georgia, will give the region “a new dimension of international importance”, turning it into “a key component of the transport corridor, connecting Europe and Asia.”

The joint communiqué also says that the three ministers underscored “the necessity of timely conclusion of construction works” in order to put this railway link into service as a “central route, the shortest and the most effective route for reverse transit of the ISAF forces and cargoes from Afghanistan in 2014.”

The ministers agreed to hold third trilateral foreign ministerial meeting in the second half of this year in Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, in May the third Azerbaijani-Georgian-Turkish business forum will be held in Qabala, Azerbaijan.

In Batumi the Turkish Foreign Minister also held bilateral meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart and also met with head of the Adjara Autonomous Republic Archil Khabadze.

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