ArmInfo. Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, during his visit to Ankara, along with other issues, discussed the proposed <3 + 3> format for cooperation in the Caucasus, which provides for the participation of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Iran and Russia .
At a joint press conference after the meeting, the Georgian Foreign Minister said that although Georgia is grateful to Turkey for the initiative to ensure "long-term" peace in the region, it has a "clear" position on Russia's participation in this format.
"For us, unification in formats means that the participating countries must respect the fundamental principles of international law, including the recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries", - said Zalkaliani, Civil.ge reports.
According to him, it is difficult for Georgia to imagine participation in any international format together with Russia for the development of economic cooperation until steps are taken for de-occupation. Instead, the Georgian Foreign Minister proposed that Tbilisi become a "kind of platform" for Azerbaijan and Armenia, where they could cooperate on projects in the field of economy, business, culture and relations between peoples.
The Turkish Foreign Minister, in turn, said that Turkey respects and understands "Georgia's cautious approach to this issue." "When difficult circumstances exist, I mean Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it may be difficult to start bilateral negotiations (with Russia), but it would be easier to do it in a multilateral format," he said.
Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey supports the territorial integrity of Georgia, as well as Azerbaijan. At the meeting, the ministers discussed strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries, bilateral trade and economic relations, assistance in combating the pandemic, as well as energy projects with Azerbaijan, including the TANAP projects and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.