0612 GMT February 22, 2018
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sat down for talks with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Janelidze in Tbilisi, stressing the Islamic Republic’s resolve to boost bilateral relations in various areas.
“In today’s meeting, [we] explored different fields of cooperation, including transit, industry and education as well as cooperation in international organizations and regional issues,” he said, IRNA wrote.
Zarif also touched on a multi-national transit project, called the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which connects the Persian Gulf to both the Black Sea.
If it becomes operational, the corridor will bring regional countries closer to each other and reduce the costs of transferring goods, he added.
The INSTC is a 7,200-kilometer multimode network of ship and route for moving freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe, and Central Asia.
Zarif also announced that Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili will visit Tehran in the near future.
Additionally on Tuesday, the top Iranian diplomat held a meeting with Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, during which the latter called for enhanced bilateral ties, especially in the parliamentary one.
Zarif meeting took place on the second leg of his Central Asia and Caucasus tour.
After Georgia, Zarif will travel to Kyrgyzstan as part of his three-day tour to Central Asia and the Caucasus which has already taken him to Turkmenistan.
50% hike in trade
Janelidze noted that trade volume between Georgia and Iran increased by 50 percent during the first two months of 2017. He also added that number of Iranian tourists to Georgia has significantly increased since 2016, Georgia Today reported.
“Our country provides useful business environment and climate that is approved by the fact of increasing Iranian investments in Georgia,” Janelidze said.
He also added that his Iranian counterpart’s visit proves that Georgia and Iran have long-lasting, good and friendly relations.
The Georgian FM said that Iran and Georgia have started working on the issue of recognizing Georgian higher education diplomas in Iran.
“We have agreed to deepen relations in the culture and education fields. Georgia is interested in offering more possibilities of high education to the regional countries including Iranian students. Recognition of Georgian diplomas by the Iranian side will significantly promote this,” Janelidze added.
The minister explained the number of Iranian investments increased by 90 percent in Georgia last year due to the country’s favorable business and investment environment.
As an example of successful bilateral cooperation Janelidze named the Supsa Oil Enterprise project that was launched last year.
The Georgian-Iranian Business Forum was held in Tbilisi, where about 100 companies from both countries were represented.
Georgia’s Economy Minister Giorgi Gakharia opened the forum and said Iran was a country with one of the most "serious economic potentials” in the region, agenda.ge reported.
We hope to attract more investments from Iran. We have discussed specific directions and fields such as production, transit, pharmacy, agriculture, using a free trade regime for creating joint enterprises. These are the directions which have the potential for more active developments,” said Gakharia.