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EU envoy reveals time of talks on new strategic partnership agreement with Baku

20 September 2017 13:42 (UTC+04:00)
EU envoy reveals time of talks on new strategic partnership agreement with Baku

Negotiations on trade and sectoral chapters of the new strategic partnership agreement between the European Union and Azerbaijan will take place in Brussels next week, Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Kestutis Jankauskas told Trend on September 19.

"Azerbaijan is an important partner for the European Union. We want to upgrade our relationship and develop its full potential through a new bilateral agreement," he said.

Jankauskas noted that President of the European Council Donald Tusk and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev announced during President Aliyev's visit to Brussels on February 6, 2017 that the negotiations on a new EU-Azerbaijan agreement were to be launched on February 7.

"Negotiations are ongoing and have been conducted on a regular basis both in Baku and Brussels, also via video conference in order to conclude negotiations without delay," he added. "Both sides have demonstrated a strong commitment to progressing in the talks and we are looking forward to the next round that will take place in the near future. "

Jankauskas said that discussions so far have been held in a constructive spirit and there is a strong will on both sides to have an ambitious agreement that replaces the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1996, reflecting the significant development of relations between EU and Azerbaijan since then.

"This new agreement will broaden and deepen the scope of our relations, based on shared fundamental values and principles and taking into account the new global, political and economic interests we share and challenges face together," he said, adding that the agreement will cover political, sectoral, trade and economic relations.

"We are preparing for the next plenary round of negotiations that will take place shortly and are confident that the positive atmosphere and good pace of progress in the negotiations so far can be maintained. Both Baku and Brussels have an interest in coming to an agreement that should bring benefits to us all, updating our legal basis and better reflecting the nature of EU-Azerbaijan relations. I am glad to confirm that negotiations on trade and sectoral chapters of the agreement will take place in Brussels next week," he said.

The European Council adopted a mandate for the European Commission and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan in November 2016.

The new agreement should replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement and should better take account of the shared objectives and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today.

The agreement will follow the principles endorsed in the 2015 review of the European Neighborhood Policy and offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.

Moreover, a delegation of the European Union political and security committee will visit Baku.

Over 30 visitors, including ambassadors from 28 EU member states are expected to visit Baku on October 3, he added.

They will especially focus on relations between the EU and Azerbaijan in security, policy and defence policy spheres, said Jankauskas.

Currently, the visit program is being worked out, he noted.


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