Turkey, Georgia vow to strengthen ties

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and his visiting Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili on Tuesday vowed to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation.

Speaking at a joint press conference after their meeting in Ankara, Sezer underscored good neighborly relations between Turkey and Georgia, saying that Turkey appreciates and supports the Georgian government's development efforts and its Euro-Atlantic initiatives.

As for bilateral relations and cooperation, Sezer said that Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline will follow the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline, which was constructed by Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

"We have also reached a consensus to widen this comprehensive regional cooperation to transportation with the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway connection," Sezer said.

Sezer also said that Turkey supports Georgia's unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

"In this context, our country wishes that Abkhazia and South Ossetia problems will be solved through peaceful means," Sezer said.

He said that Turkey expects an agreement aiming to prevent double taxation to follow a preferential trade agreement, which was signed by the two countries earlier in the day.

Sezer said he believes that Saakashvili's visit will contribute to improvement of friendship and cooperation between Turkey and Georgia.

Saakashvili, for his part, said that Turkish and Georgian companies can jointly manage Tbilisi and Batumi airports, which are to be completed soon.

"Energy is one of the issues to which Georgia attaches importance. We will continue our cooperation in energy. We have once more seen that Turkey is a strategic partner and a friendly country," he said.

Saakashvili arrived in Ankara earlier in the day for a three- day official visit to Turkey at the invitation of Sezer.

Source: Xinhua

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