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    Georgian PM in Ankara to strengthen regional ties

    Hürriyet Haber
    06 Ekim 2005 - 10:10Son Güncelleme : 06 Ekim 2005 - 10:10

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli in Ankara on Wednesday to hold talks on how to improve trade, military and cultural exchanges between the two countries. Addressing the press after the meeting, Erdogan voiced his hopes that the two countries would strengthen economic and trade cooperation and increase their trade to $2 billion a year. Turkey and Georgia already have strong economic ties with Turkey being one of Georgia's principal trading partners.

    "Turkey is Georgia's second biggest trading partner and we hope that our countries will continue to deepen their cooperation," said the Georgian PM.

    Erdogan also said that Georgia's territorial integrity was important for Turkey: "I hope that the issue of Abkhazia and South Ossetia would be settled peacefully," said the Turkish PM, adding that, "instability in neighboring Georgia could have a negative effect on the entire region."

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in the 1990s, the Georgian government has since vowed to bring them back under the control of central government.

    Nogaideli congratulated Turkey achieving its goal to the start negotiations on its EU membership on Tuesday.

    The two leaders are expected to sign agreements on air transport and rescheduling of debt payment.

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