Georgian PM hails regional Peaceful Neighbourhood initiative during “crucial” visit of Azerbaijani president

Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday hosted Azerbaijani president. Photo: government of Georgia press office, 24 Oct 2022 - 15:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday hailed the Peaceful Neighbourhood initiative, launched by him to facilitate talks between South Caucasus countries, at a press conference with visiting Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev in the central Georgian city of Mtskheta.

Garibashvili said the initiative had not been drawn up to “contradict or replace” any other format of cooperation in the region, but encouraged positive trends in relations to ensure “more fruitful partnership”.

Praising the “neighbourly, friendly and strategic partnership” between Georgia and Azerbaijan, the head of the Georgian government stressed Aliyev’s visit carried “great importance” and noted “we have discussed various topics related to the strong partnership and cooperation between our countries”.

There is a truly unique relationship and friendship between our countries. These relations are based on close historical ties, mutual respect, and I am deeply convinced that the existing high-level relations will be further strengthened for the benefit of our people and countries”, Garibashvili told Aliyev and thanked him for his “special contribution” to the strengthening of the ties. 

PM Garibashvili said that Georgia and Azerbaijan enjoyed "unique friendship". Photo: government of Georgia press office. 

Focusing on the South Caucasus region, the Georgian top official said the recent agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the start of the peaceful negotiations over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region “gives us great hope”. 

Here, I would like to confirm once again that Georgia, myself and my government declare our full readiness to continue and support the peaceful policy that we have started together. Also, I would like to point out that the mentioned Peaceful Neighbourhood initiative does not contradict or replace any other format of cooperation - on the contrary, it will help [their implementation] and I believe that we will do many important things together", the prime minister said. 

Garibashvili and Philip Reeker, the senior adviser of the United States department of state for Caucasus negotiations, brokered a deal in June 2021, with the agreement involving Azerbaijan’s release of 15 Armenian prisoners of war in exchange for receiving from Armenia a map of landmines in the Agdam district of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In the agreement, which followed the most recent conflict between the two counties, the captives were handed over to Armenia on the Azerbaijani-Georgian border, with the Georgian authorities attending the swap.

In July this year, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, held their inaugural meeting in Tbilisi, as part of the Georgian PM’s initiative.