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Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan: We should boost coordination for new Silk Road

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 22
Georgia’s capital city hosted the fifth Foreign Ministerial of Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan on February 19 where the triumvirate agreed on intense trilateral cooperation mainly within the fields of energy-transport and the new Silk Road project.

The three also signed the 'Tbilisi Statement', which highlighted the importance of trilateral meetings, condemned terrorist acts in Turkey and expressed readiness to forge ties to better cooperate in the fields of economics, transit and transport.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stated they were eager to cooperate in order for the new Silk Road route – which will connect Europe with Asia - to be realised.

“The historic route will further enhance cooperation in the fields of transport, energy, trade and people-to people contacts across the Silk Road Route,” they said, and drew attention to the agreements made during the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum on October 15-16.

The foreign ministers welcomed the first transit container train from China on the Silk Road route reaching Europea via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in December 2015 and underlined the importance of further upgrades of the trans-regional infrastructure.

The official’s emphasied the role of the Baku- Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway in facilitating competitive transportation between Asia and Europe, noted with content successful testing of the Tbilisi section of the railway in 2015 and reiterated the utmost importance of the earliest start of the BTK.

The three stated that Georgia, Turkey and Azaerbaijan intend to promote their roles as transit corridors between two parts of the world.

The ministers also spoke about the opportunities of the Georgia-European Union (EU) Association Agreement (AA) and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) offered for the three nations.

The officials also agreed on necessity of the peaceful solving of regional conflicts and said the next Foreign Ministerial would be held in Azerbaijan later this year.

Before the meeting, Georgia’s Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili met the Turkish Foreign Minister, wherein he stated that the three countries have a lot potential to show to the rest world.

Usupashvili said this when meeting the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu in Kutaisi Parliament today, where the duo mainly discussed regional security and economy issues.

“Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan are major routes connecting two important parts of the world. That’s why existing pipelines, railways, highways and other means of communication are just the beginning. There will be more projects in the future with the involvement of strong players like China and the European Union (EU) that will be crucial for our countries’ further advancement,” Usupashvili said.