Baku. 23 May. REPORT.AZ/ 'We welcome the fact that the principles of differentiation, flexibility, focus and greater ownership feature the new European Neighborhood Policy document as a step to adapt EU policy vis-à-vis its Eastern dimension to current realities and the needs of partner countries.'
Report was told in the press service of Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov said, making a speech at the Eastern Partnership Ministerial Foreign Affairs Meeting on May 23, 2016.
'Azerbaijan has always demonstrated a strong political will to develop the relationship with the EU based on principles of equal partnership and mutually benefit. A year ago Azerbaijan introduced the draft Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) to the EU side on the margins of the Riga Summit. This agreement will lay the solid foundation for upgrading our bilateral relationship to qualitatively new level and for better securing our common interests.
The visit of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to Azerbaijan was a good opportunity for reviewing and discussing the future direction of the EU-Azerbaijan relationship. We attach great importance to enhancing our bilateral cooperation in many areas of shared interest and, having recently finalized joint consultations on the scope of Strategic Partnership Agreement, we understand that the EU will come up with an official mandate to launch negotiations soon.
Currently, we are working on the resumption of existing political dialogue mechanism aimed at re-energizing our bilateral cooperation. Furthermore, we are also ready to resume negotiations on Common Aviation Agreement with the EU', Azerbaijani Foreign Minister said.
'The revised ENP reaffirmed importance of completing the Southern Gas Corridor to achieving pan-European energy security. Timely and successful finalization of this project is critical for bringing alternative gas volumes to Europe. The 2nd Ministerial Meeting of Advisory Council recently held in Baku and attended by Federica Mogherini and Maroš Šefčovič delivered a message of unity and solidarity on unimpeded implementation of this multibillion project. The groundbreaking ceremony of Trans Adriatic Pipeline held on 17 May in Thessaloniki, Greece marked another milestone in this regard. Azerbaijan is and will remain a committed partner to meet joint strategic interests in the field of energy security.
There is huge untapped potential in the area of transport as well. Azerbaijan continues to make all efforts to further contribute to the development of transit corridors in our region, particularly the East-West and South-North corridors. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, expected to be operational by the end of this year, will join the ranks of the region’s most critical infrastructures once China’s Silk Road Economic Belt concept comes to the full reality.
These projects bear more implications than mere economic-commercial benefits. They will serve as an effective instrument for engagement in wider areas of common interest between the EU and Azerbaijan', he stated.
'Multiculturalism and diversity should be promoted widely in order to overcome growing threats as radicalization, extremism and terrorism. Azerbaijan with its vibrant multicultural society is ready to share its experience in this regard. Meanwhile, we regard EU Strategy of Culture in its external action instrumental in identifying the modalities of our practical engagement in this field.
The 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) held in Baku on April 25-27 2016, adopted the Baku Declaration which would serve as guidelines for states and international organizations in promotion of intercultural dialogue and multiculturalism as a way to counter violence and extremism and sustain peace, security and prosperity for all and everybody. The Forum’s themes and sub-themes reflected the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which incorporates the promotion of inclusive societies as pivotal component for sustainable development, and the creation of justice, peace, and security. The Forum was attended by more than 4000 participants, including heads of states and governments, officials, academicians, experts and representatives of civil society and media', Azerbaijani diplomat added.