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An Azerbaijani lesson in political economics in Tbilisi2009-04-03 17:45
Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister, Elmar Mamedyarov, assured his hosts on the culmination of his visit to Tbilisi that his country's cooperation with Russia would in no way prevent business relations with Georgia. This Eastern country does not mix politics with business, and it would be worth the Georgians learning from them.
Elmar Mamedyarov left Georgia with a feeling of having carried out his duty.
The discussion of political and economic issues with his counterpart Grigol Vashadze was productive. The ministers signed a "Consultation plan between the Azerbaijani and Georgian Foreign Ministers for 2009", reports the APA news agency.
Cooperation between the two countries in the gas sector is actively developing. A subsidiary of the Azerbaijani oil giant SOCAR Energy-Georgia has become the main sponsor of the Eighth international conference entitled "Oil and gas. Energy and infrastructure in Georgia" (GIOGIE-2009), which opened yesterday in Tbilisi. 200 delegates from 13 countries around the world came to it. Among the topics to be discussed at the conference were the prospects for transporting Turkmen and Kazakh gas from a Trans-Caspian pipeline along the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, and guaranteeing the transport of natural gas to Western Europe, reports the agency Caucasus-Press.
Azerbaijan, which is rich in energy resources, and Georgia, which can only receive income from their transport, are both following the same course - of diversifying their energy flow. But if for Tbilisi this is mainly connected with their desire to reduce opportunities for Russia by setting up gas pipelines which bypass their northern neighbour, Baku, on the other hand, is ready to expand its cooperation with Moscow. This worries their Georgian partners. Therefore, at the end of his visit, Mamedyarov made a special point of emphasizing that the memorandum between Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR and Russia's Gazprom would not influence gas supplies to Georgia. "This agreement will in no way impact on the Nabucco project. Azerbaijan has a sufficient gas supply to take part in several projects simultaneously," assured the high-ranking guest. "We need to open up all paths and opportunities. It is a commercial question, and there should be a commercial approach to its solution," summed up Mamedyarov, as he was cited by the Trend news agency.
Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze had only to reiterate that Baku had proven its reliability as an energy supplier. SOCAR supplies gas to Georgia at relatively low prices. For distributors supplying the population, the cost of a thousand cubic metres of fuel is $167.