Turkey says Georgia, Azerbaijan meeting opportunity for peace in region

June 08, 2012, Friday/ 21:24:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Turkey hosts a trilateral meeting with Georgia and Azerbaijan in a bid to deepen ties between the three allies, where Turkey says it believes the cooperation mechanism will become an effective way to restore peace and stability in the region.

“This three-way mechanism will provide an important opportunity to transform Black Sea, Caucasus and Caspian region to an area of peace, stability and prosperity,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters after the talks with his Georgian and Azerbaijani counterparts.

Davutoğlu met with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze within the scope of Turkey-Azerbaijan-Georgia foreign ministers' tripartite meeting in the northeastern province of Trabzon on Friday.

During the meeting, the ministers discussed bilateral and regional issues, increasing cooperation between the countries and regional stability and security. The parties also exchanged views on regional cooperation on the issues of common interest to all three countries.

Davutoğlu told reporters that the mechanism between the three countries are not does not have “excluding” nature and the foreign ministers consider the mechanism as a way to widen areas of cooperation.

He added that the three nations have successfully realized very significant peace and stability projects.

The meeting coincided with increasing tension along the Azerbaijani-Armenian border on Friday.

The death toll in the border clashes has increased to nine since Tuesday. As a result of exchanges of gunfire that started on Tuesday, five soldiers from the Azerbaijani side and four soldiers from among the Armenian troops were killed in clashes.

Davutoğlu said the foreign ministers discussing during the meeting cooperation opportunities and ongoing projects. He added that the the second session of the meeting will be held in the second half of 2012 in Georgia’s Batumi city and the next one will be held in the first half of 2013 in Azerbaijan.

In the final declaration of the Trabzon meeting, foreign minsiters said they underline the importance of stability and prosperity of the South Caucasus region, located at the crossroads of energy, transport and communication corridors between East and West and North and South, for the regional and global stability and security. They said they acknowledge that protracted conflicts emanating from existing occupations are the main obstacle to peace and stability in the South Caucasus and  pointing out that resolution of these conflicts will help to build an atmosphere of peace, stability and prosperity.

The countries said they agreed in the final declaration to enhance the existing cooperative partnerships among the countries to promote common development and contribute to peace, security, stability and prosperity of the region.

They said they note the importance of the earliest resolution of the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, and the conflict over Abkhazia, Georgia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia on the basis of respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan and Georgia respectively and emphasize the right to safe and dignified return of the refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin.

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