Joint press statements of Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy
21 june 2013, 14:55
Statement by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy
- Ladies and gentlemen!
I am pleased to welcome the President of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, again. We have already met several times. We last met during my visit to Baku on 15 July of last year, and I would like to thank you once again for the hospitality I enjoyed.
Today we had a sincere, broad and meaningful discussion. This discussion covered areas of mutual interest for Azerbaijan and the European Union, as well as the development of our relations.
Along with other topics, we also discussed the energy issue. I have expressed my satisfaction with the significant achievements of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is an important strategic project for both sides, and thanked President Ilham Aliyev for managing this project. Speaking more broadly, I have confirmed that Azerbaijan is an important partner for the European Union.
By cooperating in the energy sector, we have made great strides. But we can do more.
I have reiterated that the President of the European Council is determined to maintain long-term and substantive cooperation with Azerbaijan in the field of democracy and common values, including human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We have also reviewed and assessed the key activities to be implemented in 2013. One of them, of course, is the presidential election. The European Union hopes that this election will be conducted in accordance with high standards. We have also reviewed progress in terms of the "Eastern Partnership", and I have expressed my strong desire to establish a new relationship based on the Association Agreement.
Finally, we have discussed regional and international issues. During these discussions, the opinions of the President and the prospects have aroused my interest. As you would expect, I emphasized that the European Union believes that without a fair settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict stability in the South Caucasus cannot be achieved, and we continue to support the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group.
I said that I support the statement by the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries which they were at the G8 summit in Lough Erne at the beginning of the week, where I also participated. The Presidents of the Minsk Group member-states have urged the leaders of the parties to commit themselves to the Helsinki principles, in particular the principles of non-aggression, rejection of the use of force, territorial integrity, equality and self-determination of peoples. They have urged the parties to refrain from any activity that may lead to increased tension in the region and an escalation of the conflict. I have also expressed my intention to enhance the current measures aimed at eliminating the gap between conflicting parties.
There are good relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union. Our long-term commitment is to further strengthen this relationship by working towards completion of the negotiations on the Association Agreement. With the help of the Association Agreement our relationship can realize their potential to the full extent.
Mr. President! Thank you for your visit.
Statement by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Thank you for the comments, Mr. President. And thank you for the invitation! I am very pleased to be here and to discuss important issues concerning our relations.
I also recall your visit to Azerbaijan. It was an important visit for our relations. It was the first visit of the President of the European Council to Azerbaijan. The discussions we held in Baku and here in Brussels before that are very important for a further development of our relations. Our approaches to this relationship are the same.
Azerbaijan wants to be as close as possible to Europe. Azerbaijan is an active member of the "Eastern Partnership" program. The closer we are to Europe, the more opportunities we will have for development, for democratic development. We are very grateful to European institutions for their cooperation in this area.
I believe that development in areas such as democratization and human rights helps Azerbaijan in the implementation of its political reforms in accordance with the highest international standards. Of course, as you pointed out, we have discussed this issue today. We will definitely continue to cooperate in these areas.
Mr. President, as you pointed out, we have covered a lot of issue today. In particular, we have discussed issues of regional stability, security and conflict settlement. We appreciate the statement made by the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries. We are grateful to them for the fact that they keep the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the main part of the agenda and use such a prestigious forum as the G8 summit to express their attitudes and concerns. We fully support their statements with regard to the implementation of all the necessary steps to achieve a speedy resolution of the conflict.
The reference to the Helsinki Final Act is extremely important. The Helsinki Final Act explicitly defines the principles on which the conflict must be resolved. The self-determination of peoples must not contradict the territorial integrity of countries. As for the Armenians, they have already completed the process of self-determination. The state of Armenia already exists. The self-determination of the Armenian people for the second time on the territory of Azerbaijan is unacceptable. Azerbaijan is interested in the speediest settlement of the conflict based on international law, including four UN Security Council resolutions demanding an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Today, we have also extensively discussed the issue of energy security. Azerbaijan is already considered an important partner of European institutions in the field of energy security. Positive progress has been made in this area since our last meeting. The announcement of the TANAP project will create additional opportunities for the successful implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project. We do hope that the decisions to be made in the near future will create further conditions for the implementation of this important energy project that will completely change the energy map of Europe. In this case all parties will benefit. Azerbaijan will determine a long-term and predictable gas market in Europe. Europe, for its part, will obtain an alternative source of gas supplies from Azerbaijan for decades to come. The close partnerships in this area, in particular the steps being taken to create the Southern Gas Corridor, are very important to the success of this project.
Of course, we have also discussed the issues of regional security and stability. I think that Azerbaijan is playing an increasingly stabilizing role in the region. We do hope that we will see many positive changes in the coming years. In short, Mr. President, I express my gratitude to you again for the hospitality and for the opportunity to see each other. I believe that the successful cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union will be continued. As you said, it is a good relationship. We must work together to further improve these good relations and make them excellent.