Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec.12 /Trend S.Agayeva/
EU countries are interested in further cooperation with Azerbaijan, EU foreign ministers said at a briefing after a meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on Wednesday.
"Azerbaijan is at the centre of the region and at the same time in the thick of the problems with Afghanistan, Iran and therefore a stable situation in the country is very important for the EU," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said.
He noted that the EU and all its members are interested in a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and in restoring peace and stability in the region.
The EU cannot remain indifferent to the problems of the region as it is interested in further cooperation with the countries of the South Caucasus.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Head of the Polish presidential administration Jacek Mikhailovsky noted that it is very important for the EU to take up relations with Azerbaijan to a very high level and in this context the entry of the country into new markets in Europe is very important. This question was the focus of today's talks, Mikhailovsky said.
The Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Nikolay Mladenov noted that Bulgaria highly appreciates Azerbaijan's role in energy security of Europe, and is interested in further development of relations.
"Azerbaijan occupies one of the key places in Bulgaria,which is looking for new routes to diversify energy sources. Bulgaria is also interested in the TANAP project," Mladenov said.
A 20 per cent share of TANAP is currently owned by BOTAS and SOCAR has an 80 per cent share. SOCAR is going to keep 51 per cent of project shares and Turkey 20 per cent.
TANAP project envisages construction of the pipeline from the eastern border of Turkey to the country's western border to supply gas from Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas field to Europe through Turkey.
On June, 26 Azerbaijan and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement on TANAP implementation.
The initial capacity of the pipeline is expected to reach 16 billion cubic meters a year. About six billion cubic meters will be delivered to Turkey and the rest to Europe.
According to the preliminary data, the partners intend to distribute a 29 per cent share in TANAP as follows: Statoil and BP - 12 per cent each and Total - five per cent.