Defense Ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, Zakir Hasanov, Levan Izoria and Fikri Işık, respectively held the fifth trilateral meeting in the Georgian city of Batumi on May 23 and discussed, among other issues, joint military exercises and security measures for regional economic projects.
During the joint press briefing after the trilateral meeting, Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria praised cooperation between the three countries, and said they had made plans for the “future widening of the trilateral cooperation format.” He also announced joint exercises of the three nations’ special operation forces to be held in two weeks, as well as a joint computer-assisted staff-level exercises in September.
According to Izoria, this military cooperation between the three nations is very important for their security and the implementation of their “ambitious economic projects.”
Izoria also said that the ministers “clearly expressed [their] position regarding protection of the principle of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Georgia,” adding that “the policy of non-recognition of the occupied territories will be firmly supported in the international formats in the future as well.”
We held, in the context of our trilateral strategic cooperation 5th meeting of defence ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia in Batumi pic.twitter.com/eWljMUb7m1
— Fikri Işık (@fikriisik) May 23, 2017
The summit participants spoke on the first meeting of the three nations’ general staff heads, to be held in Georgia in the fall of 2017. They also agreed that Georgia will continue offering courses for the Azerbaijani and Turkish servicemen in the Sachkhere Mountain Training School.
The meeting was finalized by signing the three ministers’ joint statement, which, according to the Georgian Defense Ministry, emphasizes that the trilateral summit format is a successful mechanism for regional cooperation and that the three countries will continue their involvement in securing peace and stability regionally and internationally.
Levan Izoria and Fikri Işık held a separate meeting as well, with Izoria thanking his Turkish counterpart for the country’s consistent support to Georgia’s NATO bid.