Press Statements by President Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Union Herman Van Rompuy

22 june 2011, 20:00

Statement by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy

- Mister President, welcome to Brussels.

First, I would like to congratulate you on your success in the Eurovision song contest. All quarters of Europe will meet next year in Baku, bringing the limelight on Azerbaijan.

Although short, your trip is important and timely. It shows the importance you place on the EU-Azerbaijan relationship.

You should also be assured that we are committed to strengthening relations with your country. We are therefore pleased that the negotiations on the association agreement are advancing well.

Our commitment to our relationship with Azerbaijan and to our eastern partners is also reflected in our preparations and expectations for the Eastern Partnership summit in Warsaw in September.

As we discussed today, the Warsaw Summit will be the occasion to renew the commitment of both the EU and the partners to the ambitious goals of the Partnership.

This will include the joint commitment to the values and principles that underpin the Eastern Partnership, in particular democratic principles and practices, the respect for human rights, good governance and the rule of law.

We hope the summit give impetus to the promotion of the participation of partners in selected EU programs and agencies.

I also hope the Summit will be an opportunity to address ways to develop political co-operation and dialogue including also on joint efforts to enhance regional security and resolve conflicts, as well as relevant global and regional issues of common interest.

In this regard, and view of your trip to Kazan for the summit on Nagorno-Karabakh hosted by President Medvedev, later on this week, I have underlined the strong EU support for a peaceful resolution of this long standing dispute in the EU's neighborhood.

It is now high time to make additional efforts to finalize the agreement on the Basic Principles. This would allow starting negotiations on a peace agreement soon.

The EU continues to support the work of the OSCE Minsk Group for the peaceful resolution of the conflict on the basis of the principles of non-use of force, territorial integrity and self-determination of people.

Finally, another central element in the EU-Azerbaijan relations is energy. I am glad that President Aliyev could confirm today that Azerbaijan is a committed partner and will continue to provide the EU market with significant volumes of energy supplies in the future.

Mr. President, thank you again for coming to Brussels. I am looking forward to seeing you soon again together with my EU-colleagues in Warsaw at the Eastern Partnership summit.

Thank you.

Statement by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- Thank you very much, Mister President.

First of all, I would like to thank you for invitation. My visit to Brussels is very important for future development of our relations. Also, I would like to thank you for congratulations with respect to the victory of Azerbaijani singers in Eurovision Song Contest. It was a big victory and it was a sign of support from Europe and Europeans. We are very grateful to all our friends in Europe who voted for Azerbaijani singers who awarded them this High Award. During next year’s competition in Baku the participation of our European friends. It will be also a good opportunity for us to demonstrate our country, history and culture.

Relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan are developing very successfully. We have a long history of relations. Today, these relations are entering into a new stage. As Mister President has just mentioned, Eastern Partnership program creates new opportunities for active dialogue. We are working on Association Agreement. We hope that this Agreement will allow us to create a framework for long term co-operation which will cover many areas and will allow us to be closer to Europe.

Policy of reforms, political and economic reforms in Azerbaijan are continuing, and the most successful implementation of these reforms will be to Europe. Today, during my meetings in Brussels once again we can clearly say the interest to establish much more stronger relations in all areas. You mentioned, Mister President, conflict resolution. We are very grateful to our European friends for support of the Minsk Process. Recent statements by Minsk Group co-chairing country leaders with respect to the principles of the settlement are encouraging. Especially, we are encouraged by the statements of leaders of countries chairing Minsk Group saying that the status quo is not acceptable and must be changed. The conflict must be solved based on the Helsinki Final Act documents which combine the principle of territorial integrity and self-determination of peoples. These two principles are not confronting principles. Therefore, we need to have such an agreement where territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be preserved and all the peoples in the region will live freely and peacefully. I think that the proposals of the Minsk Group create such a framework. We expect from our Armenian counterparts a constructive approach to negotiations. We want the soonest resolution of the conflict to allow hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis to return to their homeland after our lands are freed from occupation.

Energy co-operation between Europe and Azerbaijan already have good history. Several years ago a big oil pipeline was built from Baku to Mediterranean port which allows us to bring Caspian oil resources to international and European markets. We have already a good experience of co-operation. Today, Europe is major consumer of our energy resources. Europe is our biggest trade partner. I am sure that using of this corridor for gas resources will allow us also to become a reliable supplier of natural gas to the European consumers. We are working very actively in this direction. Special working group was established this January, and the Declaration on Southern Gas Corridor was signed during President Barroso’s visit to Baku this January, Now, we have a framework for future co-operation. We hope to finalize all the necessary arrangements by the end of this year. That will allow us to be able to use our gas potential for the benefit of our people and citizens. For Europe, it will allow getting alternative reliable and big source of gas in the future. Our interests are coinciding, but not only on energy, also on the issues which we covered today. I am sure the relations of friendship and partnership between the European Union and Azerbaijan will continue successfully in the future.

Mister President, thank you once again for your invitation.