Azerbaijani top diplomat, EU delegation discuss co-op [PHOTO]
By Fatima Hasanova
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has received a delegation led by Lawrence Meredith, Director of the Eastern Neighborhood and EU Institutional Building Department at the European Commission, Azernews reports, citing the Foreign Ministry.
At the meeting, an exchange of views was held on the agenda of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU in various fields, in particular in the fields of economy, energy, investment, transport, etc, as well as on the regional situation.
Speaking of one of the key areas of cooperation with the EU, energy security, Minister Jeyhun Bayramov emphasized the significance of signing a Memorandum of Understanding between Azerbaijan and the EU on July 18, 2022, in order to collaborate on the development of alternative energy sources. It was noted that Azerbaijan places a high value on encouraging investments, particularly in the know-how sector.
The EU's interest in investing in reconstruction and construction work carried out in the territories of Azerbaijan liberated from occupation was noted with satisfaction.
The minister gave detailed information about the current situation in the region in the post-conflict period, the large-scale restoration and construction work carried out by Azerbaijan in the territories liberated from occupation, as well as about the provocations committed by Armenia, and the existing mine threat. In particular, it was noted that the failure of Armenia to fulfill its obligations arising from the tripartite statement of November 10, 2020, is the main threat to peace, security, and development in the region.
Lawrence Meredith said that the Memorandum of Understanding signed on July 18, 2022, is important as a result of the work done between Azerbaijan and the EU. It was noted that the initiative and activity in the implementation of the Middle Corridor project made Azerbaijan one of the important partners in the field of transport and transit.
Meredith also stressed that the priority for the EU is investing in economic development, small and medium businesses, alternative energy, transport, and digital development. The position of Azerbaijan on supporting innovation in these areas was especially noted. He also noted the importance of cooperation and solidarity to eliminate the mine threat.
The meeting also saw an exchange of views on other issues of mutual interest.
The EU and Azerbaijan cooperate in different sectors of the economy. The EU invested over $21.5 billion in Azerbaijan’s economy from 2012 to 2021. Azerbaijan’s trade turnover with the EU amounted to $9.3 billion last year, which is 38 percent of the country’s foreign trade. The Delegation of the European Commission to Azerbaijan was opened in Baku in February 2008.
Azerbaijan started commercial gas supplies to Europe through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) on December 31, 2020.
A joint statement on energy cooperation with the EU was signed more than ten years ago. The EU-Azerbaijan energy cooperation has reached a new level and is still ongoing within the framework of the Southern Gas Corridor. The EU places a high value on energy supply diversification, and the Southern Gas Corridor is particularly important in this regard. In 2021, European countries purchased 8.2 billion cubic meters of gas, with an increase in volume expected in the coming years.
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