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President Aliyev Offers Bilateral and Trilateral Meetings in Georgia if Armenia Agrees

By Liza Mchedlidze
Monday, October 9, 2023
President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, stated after the meeting with Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili that Georgia's involvement in the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan is "the most correct choice". This statement comes in the aftermath of a 24-hour military operation that occurred last month, during which Azerbaijan regained control of the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region, leading to the displacement of most of its 120,000 ethnic Armenians, who fled to Armenia.

Ilham Aliyev stated that if Armenia agrees to it, they are willing to begin bilateral or triliteral meetings in Georgia, organized through the relevant agencies.

"Last month, we restored the sovereignty of the entire country, and today we must actively work on a peace agreement with Armenia. I hope that we will achieve this, and as a result, we will create a political environment and situation in the South Caucasus where trilateral cooperation will take place involving Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

It will be a successful cooperation in energy, trade, investment, and many other areas. It is possible. We missed this opportunity, my friends, because Azerbaijan was occupied for years.

Of course, this situation did not allow us to take steps towards normalization, but the time has come to give ourselves a moment so as not to lose this opportunity. As you know, today several countries and international organizations are in the role of facilitators in the process of normalization. Georgia and Azerbaijan maintain a receptive position.

This is an unbiased position regarding the territorial integrity of our countries, and we welcome any assistance. However, my belief is that the most suitable option, considering historical aspects and geography, is to have Georgia's involvement in this situation. I appreciate the Prime Minister for his willingness to assist us in this matter and for offering his role as a facilitator.

This is a country that is ready, and we expect the same from Armenia. If Armenia gives its consent, we will immediately initiate bilateral and trilateral meetings here in Georgia, through the relevant agencies," Aliyev stated.

Gharibashvili reiterated his support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and once again expressed his willingness to involve Tbilisi in the peace process.

"We in Georgia have always maintained a neutral and impartial position. Even now, we are prepared to play our part in the process of establishing this mediation or friendly format. Tbilisi is always ready to participate in this process. All three countries in the South Caucasus should be able to decide the issues of the region and our future development on our own," Gharibashvili said.