EU welcomes progress in talks with Azerbaijan on new comprehensive agreement
By Vafa Ismayilova
The European Union (EU) and interested partners welcome progress in the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Azerbaijan on a new comprehensive agreement, the declaration adopted following the summit of the EU Eastern Partnership countries, which took place on December 15 in Brussels, has said.
In addition, the declaration welcomes the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which has contributed to the diversification of gas sources and routes of supply to the EU.
"The EU remains committed in its support to the territorial integrity within their internationally recognized borders, independence, and sovereignty of all Eastern partners. We emphasize in this regard our particular objective to enhance and support regional cooperation in the Eastern Partnership region, including strengthening links and transport connectivity," the document said.
The declaration also notes that the promotion of the peaceful settlement of unresolved conflicts, conflict prevention, and confidence-building and reconciliation efforts will be supported.
In addition, assistance to conflict-affected populations will be strengthened, along with the role of women and young people in peacebuilding.
It should be noted that Azerbaijan disassociated itself from paragraph 11 of the Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit of December 15, and has a reservation to any operations “in conflict-affected regions” referred to in paragraph 8 of the Annex to this Joint Declaration carried out in the absence of a relevant request and agreement with Azerbaijan.
At the summit, EU Council President Charles Michel officially stated that Azerbaijan didn’t agree with paragraph 11 of the joint declaration concerning the internal political situation in Belarus and expressed its position in this paragraph.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has been visiting Belgium since December 14 to attend the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. As part of the visit, Aliyev had a trilateral meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and European Commission President Charles Michel to discuss the normalization of Azerbaijan-Armenia relations.
Aliyev also met his Moldovan, Ukrainian and French counterparts on the sidelines of the visit to Brussels.
During the meeting with Moldovan President Maia Sandu, the presidents discussed the cooperation within international organizations, holding the next meeting of the intergovernmental commission, as well as political consultations between the two countries foreign ministers.
They also discussed the cooperation in the fields of energy, investment, as well as business circles of the countries.
The parties emphasized the interest in discussing bilateral cooperation in the energy sector, adding the interest in exploring the possibilities to deepen cooperation with respect to business cooperation, trade exchanges.
During the meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, they discussed the activities of the intergovernmental commission, mutual visits of business delegations, and exchanged views on the development of economic and trade relations, especially cooperation in the energy field.
Noting that Ukrainian-Azerbaijani relations are developing successfully in many areas, the parties also expressed interest in expanding these ties.
Additionally, on the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron, an informal meeting was held between Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan on December 15.
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint policy initiative that aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union (EU), its Member States and its six Eastern neighbours: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
In this framework, guiding the EU's relations with its neighbours is the EU’s Global Strategy and the revised European Neighbourhood Policy which call on the need to focus on increasing the stabilisation and resilience of the EU's Eastern neighbours.
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