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Georgia, Azerbaijan play important role in Europe’s energy security – FM

Trend-Energy sphere is one of the most important fields of cooperation between Georgia and Azerbaijan, Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili said on Feb.19.

The foreign minister made the remarks during a joint press conference with her Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov who has arrived in Georgia on a two-day visit.

“Georgia, as an electricity producing country and as a transit country, plays a special role together with Azerbaijan in ensuring Europe’s energy security,” said Beruchashvili.

The foreign minister added that the two sides closely cooperate in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project.

“Naturally, the geostrategic position of Georgia and Azerbaijan allow them to develop the transport corridor between Asia and Europe as well,” she said, adding that the project for construction of BTK railway, which will link three countries – Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey – is a proof of this cooperation.

The minister said that the Georgian section of the BTK railway has been successfully tested.

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 metric 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. It is planned to complete the implementation of the project in 2015.

Furthermore, Beruchashvili said that Azerbaijan is the strategic partner of Georgia.

She added that during the meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, they discussed the cooperation between the two countries in all spheres and expressed readiness to continue this cooperation.

“We agreed to contribute to the development of trade and economic relations by taking into account the existing potential,” said Beruchashvili. “We also discussed the benefits that Azerbaijani investors will get as a result of signing of a comprehensive free trade agreement between Georgia and EU.”