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Friday, February 09, 2007

Georgia accuses Moscow of punishing Azerbaijan

09-02-2007 - RBC News - Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said Russia punished Azerbaijan for its help to Georgia in terms of gas supplies. “There are three countries in the region. First Russia raised the price of gas to $235 for Georgia. After Azerbaijan said it would supply gas to Georgia, Russia raised the price for Azerbaijan as well,” Saakashvili said at a joint news conference with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tbilisi. The three leaders signed an agreement on the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway. Despite the increased price of Russian gas, and, as a result, its absence, Azerbaijan started using a more expensive fuel in order to sell its gas to Georgia. “Georgian people should never forget that,” Saakashvili stressed. “This is the beginning of big partnership, brotherhood and friendship,” he stressed. Russian gas giant Gazprom raised the price of gas for Georgia from $110 to $235 per 1,000 cubic meters from 1 January 2007. Georgia currently receives natural gas from Azerbaijan at $120 per 1,000 cubic meters. Azeri authorities want to increase the size of supplies through boosting production at the Shaz-Deniz field in the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan will become Georgia’s key gas supplier. Mikhail Saakashvili also stressed Turkey’s important role in Georgia’s economic development. In particular, the construction of new airports in Tbilisi and Batumi was financed by Turkish businessmen.

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