Azerbaijani FM: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict keeps posing a serious threat in EU’s immediate neighborhood

Elmar Mammadyarov spoke at the VI meeting of Eastern Partnership and FMs of the EU member states

Baku. 21 April. REPORT.AZ/ On April 20 the 6th the 6th meeting of Eastern Partnership and the foreign ministers of the EU member states was held in Luxembourg. Report was informed in the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov spoke at the meeting on behalf of Azerbaijan.

Post-Vilnius developments, unfortunately, brought many challenges to the overall EaP region, including launching of another conflict. All conflicts in the EaP area have undergone the similar scenario and brought the same grave consequences – violation of territorial integrity, occupation and separatism. Now it is high time to demonstrate a unified stance and solidarity towards settlement of all conflicts in the region.

According to the head of the Foreign Ministry, Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict remains a stumbling stone for making full use of multilateral framework of Eastern Partnership and keeps posing a serious threat in EU’s immediate neighborhood.

"Therefore, we expect EU to demonstrate a firm response to security challenges that persist in the region by consistent commitment to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of international borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan and urge for soonest implementation of respective United Nations Security Council resolutions adopted in this regard. We strongly believe that de-occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan will bring long-awaited by the people of the region and all international community peace and security."

Azerbaijan for a numerous times expressed its readiness to the calls of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to begin drafting Comprehensive Peace Agreement and bring peace and stability to the region.

Despite persisting security challenges, post-Vilnius period has registered a considerable progress in Azerbaijan-EU bilateral cooperation. Strategic partnership in the field of energy has evolved considerably thanks to the concrete steps taken by Azerbaijan in the realization of the Southern Gas Corridor. Groundbreaking ceremonies of the Southern Gas Corridor in Baku and later TANAP in Kars, Turkey was a clear manifestation of Azerbaijan’s strong commitment to bring alternative gas volumes to the European market. Upon the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev and with support of Vice-president of the European Commission on Energy Union Mr. Maroš Šefčovič, the first meeting of the Advisory Council of the Southern Gas Corridor was convened in Baku on 12 February 2015. Next meeting is planned to be in Turkey very soon.

The signature of the Mobility Partnership, Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements during and after Vilnius Summit has set the necessary ground for the practical implementation of our common goals.

Azerbaijan welcomes the public consultation launched by the EU to conduct a fundamental review of European Neigborhood Policy.

In this regard, I would like to share my observations on 4 key points of ENP revision – differentiation, ownership, focus and flexibility.

Azerbaijan is convinced that the priority-drivenand project-based cooperation as prerequisites of greater differentiation policy in the bilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership promises positive outcome for mutual benefit. These priorities should be developed taking into account the geo-economic importance and geo-political position of Azerbaijan as well as major principles of its foreign policy.

As far as the ownership concerned, it should start from equal partnership and mutual commitment of parties to core principles of international law, because they are the foundations of building credible and trustworthy relations between parties. This factor is critically important for the success of the EU engagement in the Eastern Partnership geography where selective use of instruments in respect to the partners has negatively influenced the EU aspirations of partners.

Azerbaijan shares the EU’s dedication to increasing the focus on specific areas of cooperation which partner countries desire to develop. Economic development, energy, connectivity (transport, ICT and including common aviation area), migration, mobility are in the interests of Azerbaijan to promote in cooperation with EU. Meanwhile, taking note of the EU ambition to promote religious dialogue and cultural diversity in the ENP area, Azerbaijan is extremely keen on sharing its expertise with its lively multicultural environment.

Azerbaijan believes that the flexibility will be exercised easily once both parties manage to fulfil the requirements of previous key pillars. The ENP history has demonstrated that the difficulties to adapt the EU policy towards partners stemmed from the persistent “one-size fits all” policy, miscalculation of individual needs and imposing extreme interdependency between values and interests.

Taking all these into consideration, Azerbaijan reiterates its interest in EU-Azerbaijan cooperation in the spirit of strategic partnership.

In June Azerbaijan will host the first ever European Games – an exciting and innovative new multi-sport event for the continent which will be one of the major sport events in the history of Europe.

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