Charge d'Affairs: Estonia recognizes territorial integrity of Azerbaijan - INTERVIEW

The military conflict in the South Caucasus region is fraught with disastrous consequences

Baku. 13 November. REPORT.AZ/ Interview of Report News Agency with  Estonian Charge d'Affaires to Azerbaijan, Indrek Kiverik.

- Mr. Kiverik, how do you estimate the level of political relations between Estonia and Azerbaijan?

- If to speak about bilateral political relations in general, they have always carried the friendly nature, between our countries there are no serious disagreements or disputes. As for the level of these relations, here we are in the development stage. Estonia only last year opened Baku office of the Embassy (Embassy itself is located in Ankara). We will always support Azerbaijan in international organizations, such as the election of the country in the various UN agencies. We are constantly cooperating in the framework of the intergovernmental commission.

- In what areas of cooperation our countries can actively work? What is the level of trade turnover between the two countries?

- Let me answer the second part of the question first. I would not measure the level of cooperation with one turnover and there are a lot of reasons. For example, in Georgia, we are very close partners and working closely for many years in various fields. However, our trade is miserable, and the main reason for this geographical location, long distances. But unlike trade, cooperation in the field of information technology we have with Azerbaijan is one of the most intense. Last year, Azerbaijan was visited by a large delegation of Estonian universities, we are very interested in cooperation in the field of education, academic exchange and research. The most affordable to the wider population, a cultural exchange and a lot to do here. We are also willing to share their experience of reforms, whether in the framework of the Eastern partnership or twinning projects, the format is not important here.

- I would like to know, what is the position of your country in regard to the problem of migrants in Europe. Will the Estonia to accept refugees from the Middle East?

- Estonia clearly understands the need for cooperation of the EU on this issue. We can't stand by while other EU countries have problems with the influx of refugees. We have by now clearly defined rules and criteria for the placement of refugees, we are working to create all the necessary conditions. If you ask about the economic migrants, not refugees, we have a clear quota, every employer has to prove that he needs foreign labor. Unfortunately, in our society, people often confuse refugees with migrants, and this causes bursts of xenophobia. We are not happy about this at all.

- After the Riga Summit there is a certain division of the approaches of some countries of the Eastern Partnership for integration into the EU. What is your country thinks about individual approach to the EP countries?

- The principle of individual approach in the framework of the partnership has been developed for more than two years ago. The Eastern Partnership is a part of the EU neighborhood policy, including the dialogue with the countries adjacent to the southern borders of the EU. It is clear that the same approach can't be applied. And every country has the right to work in partnership to the extent that it is needed and beneficial. EU is not involved in expansion. If the partner country has its own vision of relations, the EU is ready at any convenient format.

- What is the position of Estonia to the protracted conflicts in the CIS, in particular to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

- Estonia is based on two main principles on these matters. We recognize the territorial integrity of any country, including Azerbaijan. At the same time, we can't approve military resolution of conflicts. Whether Abkhazia or Crimea, Karabakh ... The use of force will only exacerbate the conflict. Such disputes should be solved peacefully. Armed conflict in the South Caucasus region is fraught with disastrous consequences. This also concerned the EU. In particular, we need Azerbaijan, the country which is stable, peaceful, independent and open to cooperation.

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