Azerbaijan, EU develop equal partnership
By Vugar Khalilov
Azerbaijani MP Vugar Iskandarov has said that Azerbaijan and the European Union are developing ties on an equal footing, Trend reported on December 16.
He said that by implementing an independent policy based on national interests, Azerbaijan successfully cooperates with all international countries, including the European Union.
Iskandarov noted that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also stressed this moment during the meeting with President of the European Council Charles Michel on December 14, in Brussels.
He reminded that some key issues such as the trade turnover between the EU and Azerbaijan, additional opportunities for cooperation, energy security, especially completion of the Southern Gas Corridor project and the prospects for increasing the volume of natural gas that will be exported to the European market were among the main topics that were discussed between the sides during Michel’s visit to Baku in July 2021.
“The new opportunities for opening all communications in the region after the second Karabakh war, new realities of the region, as well as the issues of post-conflict development in terms of the restoration of the liberated territories were also discussed,” the MP said.
Iskandarov underlined that Europe’s energy security is one of the main topics in the discussions between Azerbaijan and the EU.
“I would like to stress that thanks to the projects being implemented by Azerbaijan recently, the energy map of the region and Europe has been greatly renewed. Azerbaijan pursues a strong policy of delivering oil and gas resources to consumers via diversified routes. From this point of view, the Southern Gas Corridor, designed to develop the Shah Deniz field and its delivery to the European countries is an exception,” Iskandarov stressed.
Azerbaijan spearheaded the establishment of the Southern Gas Corridor to export gas and contribute to Europe's energy security, he added.
“A Joint Declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor project was signed between Azerbaijan and the European Commission thanks to Azerbaijan 10 years ago. Azerbaijan has been actively cooperating for 10 years in ensuring the energy security of Europe,” the MP emphasized.
He added that on the other hand, the EU is also interested in the normalization of ties between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
“The issues of demarcation and delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border were discussed at a meeting between President Ilham Aliyev and Charles Michel on December 14 in Brussels. They also exchanged views on the opening of communications, humanitarian issues and other topics,” Iskandarov said.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani political analyst Jeyhun Ahmadli stated that Azerbaijan's strategic decision is to expand its equal cooperation with the EU.
“That’s why the president of Azerbaijan visited Brussels nine times since 2004. The heads of the EU Council have visited Azerbaijan four times since 2012 while the heads of the European Commission have visited Azerbaijan two times since 2011,” Ahmadli told Trend.
Describing the EU as Azerbaijan’s main trade partner, Ahmadli stressed that the country has also signed or adopted documents on strategic partnership with nine EU member states.
“Almost a quarter of our trade is carried out with the EU. The trade turnover was about $ 9.5 billion in 2020. The total export volume from Azerbaijan to the EU member-states is $6.8 billion,” Ahmadli said.
Azerbaijan is one of the most important countries in securing Europe's energy security and its strategic engagement with Azerbaijan is built on a solid foundation, the analyst added.
It's encouraging to see the EU taking an appropriate response to the reality of the post-conflict era and performing a mediating role between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Ahmadli noted.
“The EU effectively participates in peacebuilding, for example, when Armenia delivered the maps of minefields in Aghdam region in exchange for transferring 15 arrested Armenians to Yerevan,” he added.
Ahmadli stressed that the involvement of firms from EU nations in the restoration and demining of Azerbaijani regions liberated from Armenian occupation is noteworthy.
According to the analyst, the EU is also willing to help with confidence-building measures between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as unblocking the regional communication lines.
“We hope and believe that the EU will continue to be committed to its initiatives,” Ahmadli said.
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