Azerbaijan, Baku, April 9 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
Azerbaijan's development has an impact on its relations with Europe, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said at a meeting with Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev in Brussels, the European Commission's website said on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Füle reiterated the EU's commitment to strengthen relations with Azerbaijan, as well as the need for open and continuous exchange of views.
He added that bilateral relations between Brussels and Baku have improved, but the EU still has a few issues relating to the internal situation in the country.
According to the report, the Azerbaijani side expressed hope that the partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan will be strategic and that the EU will welcome expanding and intensifying a dialogue and cooperation, including the area of common values and freedoms.
Füle stressed that resolving these issues will help both sides use the opportunities to reach progress in bilateral relations at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius this year.
According to the report, negotiations on visa regime facilitation and a readmission agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan have been significantly advanced. The progress is observed in the negotiations on the agreement on aviation and progress, as well as the association one.
Füle also stressed the need for progress on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He stressed using caution with the parties in respect of actions and statements that could lead to an escalation of the conflict as being important.
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 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.