Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey to deepen energy cooperation
BAKU/TBILISI. Dec 23 (Interfax) - Baku, Tbilisi, and Ankara have agreed to deepen cooperation in the energy sector, Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey Elmar Mammadyarov, David Zalkaliani, and Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a joint statement adopted following a trilateral meeting in Tbilisi on Monday.
"The ministers expressed readiness to strengthen cooperation in the energy field and decided to encourage holding trilateral meetings of the ministers responsible for the energy sector," the statement said.
Additionally, the ministers emphasized the importance of expanding cooperation among relevant companies from the three countries in the development of joint projects and the pooling of experience and also highlighted the importance of establishing a trilateral electricity market.
Georgian Foreign Minister Zalkaliani said following talks in Tbilisi that the security of the region was also addressed at the meeting.
"Undoubtedly, existing conflicts pose a considerable treat to peace, international stability, and security in the region, as well as hinder the economic development of our countries," Zalkaliani said at a joint press conference in Tbilisi.
These conflicts and all matters of dispute should be resolved peacefully in accordance with the principles of international law, sovereignty, and the territorial integrity of the states, he said.
"Today's meeting showed once more the readiness of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey to resolve issues together and to deepen ties," Zalkaliani said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said at the press conference that in light of ongoing conflicts in the territories of Georgia and Azerbaijan, the parties confirmed the need to settle them by peaceful means.
"We also reiterated our solidarity in countering terrorism. I am confident that our cooperation will serve as a model for the entire region," Cavusoglu said.
He also said that the document on the new plan of action on trilateral, sectoral cooperation for 2020-2022 was signed at the meeting.
This plan will deepen cooperation between Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey on practical issues and specific projects, Cavusoglu said.
"These projects will be implemented in tracks such as energy, transport, trade, culture, and the environment. We agreed to continue working on expanding the traffic capacity of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, but we need to agree on customs procedures in order to increase trade," he said.
The ministers also emphasized the importance of trilateral cooperation in their joint statement.
"[The ministers] underlined the strategic partnership in the field of energy and reaffirmed their full support for TANAP, other important components of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), as well as for energy projects aimed at increasing volumes of natural gas transported from the Caspian region to Europe, while highlighting the role of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in assuring successful completion and functioning of those projects. [The ministers] reaffirmed their determination of maintaining and further deepening interaction for the realization of energy projects of Southern Corridor, including joint promotion of the projects at the international level," the statement said.
"[They also] welcomed the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) Inauguration Ceremony for European Connection held in Ipsala, Edirne on November 30, 2019," the statement said.