TBILISI—In discussing “problems” Georgia and Azerbaijan share with “unresolved conflicts,” Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said “whoever opposes Azerbaijan” is Georgia’s “enemy.”
In an interview published in a special issue of The Business Year magazine devoted to Azerbaijan, the Georgian leader described the relationship between the two countries as a strategic partnership.
“Georgia and Azerbaijan should stand side by side, taking into account our geographic position and common history. We share a common vision, we have strong ties. I am convinced that our countries will be able to create a better future through unity, good relationships and shared success. Both our states have serious problems with regard to unresolved conflicts, and whoever opposes Azerbaijan and Georgia is an enemy of both our countries. Our strength lies in unity, and this is not just words, but reality,” he stressed.
“In recent years Georgian-Azerbaijani relations have reached their peak, and we will continue to work in this direction. Undoubtedly, the foundation of these relations was laid by Heydar Aliyev, and we seek to maintain this trend in the future. Thanks to the incredible efforts of President Ilham Aliev, our ties are constantly strengthening. We are absolutely convinced that this relationship will contribute to stability and the development of our region. I am convinced that this is a new start of the great partnership of friendship and brotherhood,” Saakashvili said.
Azerbaijani-Georgian friendship has a long history and has stood the test of time, the Georgian leader continued.
“In January 2008, when Georgia was left without electricity or gas, for reasons still not clear to me, Azerbaijan helped the Georgian people in that cold winter though it had to cut gas supplies to its own population. Georgia will never forget this help of the Azerbaijani people. We will not forget this help because it was provided in the most difficult time for Georgians. And it’s not just the result of a strategic partnership, but also a symbol of our brotherhood. In fact, we have established federal links. The two countries have no problems,” the head of the Georgian state said.
Speaking about successful joint projects, the president highlighted the importance of the construction of the railway from Baku via Tbilisi to Kars in Turkey. This project demonstrates geopolitical transformation in the region, as “a completely new strategic relationship is created not only between Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, but also with Central Asia, China and Europe”.
“In essence, this is a modern version of the Silk Road. This project will certainly guarantee the successful long-term development of our countries. Our relationship is more than just a regular connection. Georgia and Azerbaijan have been friendly countries for many years,” Saakashvili said.