Georgia trying to gradually get rid of dependence on Azerbaijan
Relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan appear to be entering a test period. At the end of last year, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev did not congratulate Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili on assuming office, and only Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Asadov attended the inauguration ceremony.
This could not go unnoticed by the commentators, and they stated that Georgian-Azerbaijani relations are no longer at the same level.
It seems that Georgia, which is deepening its relations with the European Union, is trying to gradually overcome its dependence on Azerbaijan, which is a consequence of the unbalanced policy of former President Saakashvili.
The Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Erzrum gas pipeline and the Baku-Kars railway pass through the territory of Georgia. Azerbaijani propaganda presents them as the greatest manifestation of good in relation to Georgia.
However, the reality is that Azerbaijan simply does not have any other way to transit its energy resources. Providing Georgia with relatively cheap gas and oil products is simply offset by the willingness of official Tbilisi to support Azerbaijani projects.
However, in the recent period, the Georgian side began, as they say, to show its teeth. Information appeared in the Georgian media that, at the initiative of a local public organization, a laboratory examination of diesel fuel produced by the Azerbaijani state oil company Socar was organized, the results of which simply shocked the Georgian public.
As it turned out, diesel fuel in Socar filling stations that are widespread in Georgia does not meet any international technical standard.
Cars fueled with this fuel are just a disaster for the environment. The problem has received wide publicity, especially in Tbilisi regarding the issue of public transport.
The reaction of the Azerbaijani side was not long in coming. The information service Socar regarded the initiative of the Georgian NGO as a provocation and assured that only diesel fuel that meets all technical standards is delivered to Georgia. Of course, Azerbaijan could not officially admit that for many years it supplied low-quality diesel fuel and gasoline to the neighboring country.
The delicacy of the problem lies in the fact that Georgia wants to maximally limit the further economic expansion of the Azerbaijani state oil company on its territory. Georgia is deepening economic integration with the EU and needs to revise the entire complex of relations with Azerbaijan. The first steps, as it can be assumed, are being made in the direction of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, which is tasked to supply oil products to Georgia that meet European standards.
Does Azerbaijan have the opportunity to retool its oil refining industry? Obviously not, because, oddly enough, this oil-rich country itself imports high-quality gasoline and diesel from other countries. Actually, Georgia sets itself the task of getting rid of the marketing monopoly of the Azerbaijani Socar. At the moment it is an economic task.
However, it is possible that the question contains political overtones. Accidents also affect the situation. The other day in Tbilisi, an ambulance hit a group of Azerbaijani citizens. The incident, of course, has nothing to do with politics, however, in any case, the sediment will definitely remain.
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