Joining WTO would open up new avenues of EU - Azerbaijan cooperation: British ambassador Carolyn Browne (INTERVIEW)

Joining WTO would open up new avenues of EU - Azerbaijan cooperation: British ambassador Carolyn Browne (INTERVIEW)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 4 / Trend V.Zhavoronkova/

The UK ambassador to Azerbaijan Dr. Carolyn Browne spoke in an exclusive interview with the European Desk of Trend Agency.

Trend : You visited the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic last week. What are your impressions after this trip? What areas of potential cooperation between the United Kingdom and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic have been set as the priority directions?

Carolyn Browne: Although I've been visiting Azerbaijan since 1988, this was my first visit to Nakhchivan. I'd heard a great deal about it. But I wanted to see things for myself. So I spent three days talking to as many different people in Nakhchivan as I could - Parliamentary Chairman Mr. Vasif Talibov, members of the Nakhchivan department of the MFA, representatives from all the main political parties - Umid, YAP, Musavat, Popular Front and Civic Development parties - the Chairman of the Central Election Commission, the Rector of Nakhchivan State University, representatives of four NGOs, and foreign and international representatives who live in Nakhchivan. I had a lively question and answer session with a group of young students at Nakhchivan State University - I told them that the key to learning was never to stop asking asking questions. I also gave a press conference on my visit. I traveled to the customs post at Julfa on the border with Iran and into the mountains near the border with Armenia. And I talked to everyone I met - in shops, on the streets, at the Ashabi Kahf complex, with the students at the University and so on.

One of the main reasons for my visiting Nakhchivan was to see a project, which is funded by my Government as part of our support for the Azerbaijani Government's strategic choice to develop this country's partnership with Europe. We welcome and respect that choice - which is why UK taxpayers' money is spent on such projects. This particular project is run by the Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety, and concerns the monitoring of freedom of expression and other human rights issues.

As for potential areas of co-operation, Chairman Mr. Vasif Talibov requested me to explore ways of developing links in the cultural and educational fields. This was something I discussed at greater length with the Rector of Nakhchivan State University, who has already made contact with UK universities in Preston and elsewhere. I look forward to finding ways to develop those links further.

One issue which was not however raised during my visit was the potential for trade between the UK and Nakhchivan.

Q: What is your estimation of the level of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom? What steps should be taken to expand the bilateral cooperation?

A: In one word? I'd say "dynamic". It's a relationship which is both deepening in areas of existing co-operation - like trade in non-hydrocarbon goods and services. Another example would be our armed forces working side by side in Afghanistan as part of the same international coalition. But our bilateral co-operation is also broadening out into entirely new areas. Take for example the very positive co-operation which is developing between UK and Azerbaijani law enforcement bodies in respect of crimes which cross international borders. We had an excellent example of that recently - the UK law enforcement officials involved told me that it was one of the most positive experiences they have had in working with a non-EU member state anywhere in the world on such matters.

You can judge the nature of the bilateral relationship for yourself by looking at the number of areas referred to in the Joint Communiqué issued by my Prime Minister and President Aliyev during the latter's official visit to London earlier this year.

Of course, as in any relationship, there are things we don't agree on as well as things we do agree on. Take, for example, the BBC World Service's role in Azerbaijan. Following agreement in the Joint Communique to continue to discuss this issue, I had a meeting recently with Dr Ali Hasanov of the Presidential Apparat, during which he invited BBC World Service representatives to visit Baku to continue their discussions.

Q: Currently, Azerbaijan sees active development of its non-oil sector, though British investments in the person of BP are mainly directed at oil industry in the country. What spheres of Azerbaijan's non-oil sector would be of British businessmen's interest?

A: Your country has been outstandingly successful in creating the conditions which have attracted and retained international investment in the hydrocarbons field. That's an achievement which many other countries - including some of your neighbors - have yet to match. The next challenge is for those conditions to be extended to all other sectors of your country's economy.

British businessmen - and women, too - are quick to explore opportunities where they think the commercial potential exists. In the two years I've been living in Baku, I've seen an increasing range of UK businesses operating outside the extractive industries sector look hard at doing business with Azerbaijan. One area in which there is particular interest is developing financial services in Azerbaijan. Following the visit of the Lord Mayor of the City of London to Baku in July, the extent of bilateral contacts in this area has increased significantly. And for the first time that includes the prospect of Azerbaijani investment in the UK, as well as British investment in Azerbaijan. Another positive development was the decision a few months ago by private sector interests to launch a new organization - the British-Azerbaijani Business Council - in order to develop the trade and investment links further.

Q: How do you view the UK's role as a mediator in the negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

A: My Government remains committed to working towards a peaceful and lasting solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in accordance with the universally recognised principles and norms of international law. In practical terms, we therefore support the OSCE Minsk Group in their efforts to assist both sides identify such a solution. Our support is both political and practical. For example, we make available UK personnel and expertise to help the Minsk Group Co-Chairmen carry out their mandate. We also fund various projects to encourage and develop direct links between Azeri and Armenian civil society, since those links will be crucial to the successful implementation of a peace settlement, once that has been reached.

Q: Do you believe that restoration of the Turkish-Armenian relations could be a positive milestone in finding a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute?

A: Yes, we do. We see the commitment by Turkey and Armenia to establish diplomatic and bilateral ties as an important step towards normalizing relations, and we encourage all concerned to keep up momentum in this process to ensure that it has a positive impact for the whole region.

Q: What way do you believe to be the most appropriate for Azerbaijan to integrate into the European Union?

A: I think your question on "how" this happens is one which only the Government of Azerbaijan can answer. Look at the different ways in which other countries have developed their relations with the European Union. There are many ways in which it can happen; for example, the reasons which motivated my country to develop its relationship with what was then called the European Community are, I suspect, rather different to the reasons which motivated countries such as Estonia, Portugal, Cyprus or Ukraine to do so. But the key is that the relationship (however it happens) does indeed develop. That is why my Government strongly supports the new "Eastern Partnership" between the EU on the one hand and six countries formerly part of the Soviet Union on the other hand. How to deepen that relationship, based on the mutually shared principles and standards of the EU, was the subject of recent discussions last month in Luxembourg at Foreign Minister level between Azerbaijan and the European Union.

My own preference would be for Azerbaijan, as a first step, to join the World Trade Organization. That would automatically open up new avenues of cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan which, in time, would greatly develop links across a broad range of sectors. Of course joining the WTO first requires concluding the existing negotiations on membership. But with sustained commitment to sorting out the areas of debate, I'm confident that could be achieved.

Armenia outraged by Russian PACE delegates refusal to discuss so-called "issue of POWs”
Armenia outraged by Russian PACE delegates refusal to discuss so-called "issue of POWs”
Museums like War Trophy Park in Baku, open in many countries - Russian historian
Museums like War Trophy Park in Baku, open in many countries - Russian historian
Soldiers were unprepared for war with Azerbaijan - ex-secretary of Armenian Security Council
Soldiers were unprepared for war with Azerbaijan - ex-secretary of Armenian Security Council
Loading Bars
France ready to implement joint projects with Turkmenistan in agricultural sector
Brazil reports 3,472 more deaths
Baku Higher Oil School wins Regional Petrobowl Competition
Israel attacks targets near Damascus
German court clears path for EU COVID-19 recovery fund
Iran’s NIDC announces number of drilled wells
Iran adds advanced machines at Natanz uranium enrichment plant: IAEA
Italy's cabinet unveils roadmap for reopening starting April 26
Pakistan: Several killed in explosion at Quetta hotel
MSF urges rich countries to back COVID vaccine patent waiver
U.S. commanders seek approval for aircraft carrier near Afghanistan during withdrawal
Britain's Heathrow Airport turns down airline requests for extra flights from India
Qatar reports 819 new COVID-19 cases, 199,180 in total
Uzbekistan reveals number of investment projects implemented with S.Korea, Japan
Azerbaijani gymnast reaches final of European Championship in Basel
Turkey records highest daily COVID-19 deaths toll yet, total nears 37,000
Executive power of Azerbaijan’s Astara district opens tender for overhaul of roads
Georgia introduces new regulation on activation of roaming services
Azerbaijan to increase production of pomegranate in 2021
Iran halts flights to 39 countries due to rising COVID: CAO
NASA, SpaceX delay Crew-2 mission launch to space station
Over 200 mln COVID-19 shots administered in U.S.
Olympic motto may be altered, IOC President says
Turkey extends short-term work pay scheme until June
Uzbekistan Airways plans to discontinue flights to nine countries
Review of Georgia's exports to China
Azerbaijani banks greatly expand mortgage lending volume - CBA
EU provides more details on projects supporting in Georgian energy sector
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 24
Extension of contract for dev't of gold-bearing deposit approved in Azerbaijan
Geostat reveals data on China's exports to Georgia
UK records another 2,396 coronavirus cases, 22 deaths
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Nizami Ganjavi Int'l Center to discuss need for human rights advocacy
Armenia demonstrates fascism in relation to historical monuments - Azerbaijani State Committee
Karabakh ceasefire agreement signed, time to move forward - Commissioner for Human Rights
Some Russian airlines receive permission to make regular flights to Azerbaijan
View of Azerbaijan's liberated territories horrifying - Belarus ambassador
Execution of memorandum on improving insurance literacy starts in Azerbaijan
Uzbekneftegaz completes drilling operations on several wells
Number of transactions at Uzbek Commodity Exchange for 1Q2021 increases
EIB to assist Uzbekistan in developing credit line for project in Aral Sea region
Longest tunnel in Iran to be opened by end of spring
WB expresses readiness to provide digital transformation support to Azerbaijan
Iran creating water trading market
Volume of credit investments in Azerbaijan's economy declines
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
WB predicts fall in gold prices in 2021
Kazakhstan to establish new mobile operator
Exports markets demonstrate growing demand for Georgian medications
Kazakhstan talks ongoing work to open CLAAS agricultural vehicles' assembly plant
Turkmenistan's Turkmenbashi refinery to launch production of Jet A-1 aviation fuel
Uzbekistan, Latvia consider prospects for co-op in ICT
Azerbaijan shows footage from Bash Garvand village of Aghdam district (VIDEO)
Postal operators of Azerbaijan, Turkey launch money transfer service at favorable tariffs
India’s crosses a Landmark with Cumulative Vaccination Coverage more than 13 Crores
SOCAR Ukraine bidding for Odessa Port Plant’s tender
London Bridge station reopens after suspicious item investigated
Uzbek-Korean JSC announces tender for transport services
PM Modi to address virtual Leaders' Summit on Climate tomorrow
Turkmenistan's Turkmengeology opens tender for purchase of equipment
Delayed tourism recovery affects Georgian economic growth forecast
India gets elected to three UN ECOSOC bodies
Turkmenistan's Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of chemical products
UK extends G7 Foreign Ministers' meeting invite to India
Kazakhstan’s national postal service operator to buy spares via tender
Georgia prepares for UN Food Systems Summit 2021
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for Apr. 21
Azerbaijan confirms 2,075 more COVID-19 cases, 2,480 recoveries
Iran Khodro declares amount of money to be saved
IRICA discloses details of Iran’s trade turnover with neighboring countries
Turkey reveals volume of goods received at Bandirma port in 2M2021
Georgian commercial banks see increase in profits
Industrial parks will also operate in Karabakh zone - President Aliyev
COVID-19 stalls launch of direct flights between Kazakhstan, US - ambassador
European countries to resume J&J COVID vaccine deliveries
Azerbaijan discloses volume of vehicles assembled at Ganja Automobile Plant
Dutch Stone City Energy to build TPP in Uzbekistan’s Surkhandarya region
WB names amount of allocations to countries against COVID-19
Carbamide production in Azerbaijan to grow, WB forecasts
Baku Stock Exchange holds auction on placement of CBA short-term notes
Turkmenistan's gas compressor plant contributes gas supply to oil wells
Eurasian Development Bank to support hospitals construction in Kazakhstan
Number of Kazakh companies increases in Turkey
Turkey unveils volume of cargo shipment through Kocaeli port
Onion exports from Georgia up, while imports decrease
Azerbaijan's Ganja Automobile Plant looks to enter markets of EAEU, neighboring countries
TCO talks release of excess amount pollutants at Kazakhstan’s Tengiz field
Azerbaijan eyes to introduce biometric e-signature system
Verizon loses more-than-expected wireless subscribers
Pace of Turkmen industry dev’t accelerating
Volume of Azerbaijan's 1Q2021 oil export to Spain disclosed
Austria increases import of Turkish-made chemicals
Silk Way West Airlines named ‘Cargo Airline of the Year 2020’
Turkey's 1Q2021 furniture export to Austria shows increase
Turkey's furniture export to Iran up
WB says global coal prices to jump in 2021
Cost of electricity imports to Georgia increase
Iran's Jam Petrochemical Complex sees increase in sales
Ukrainian Bees Airline plans to carry out Kyiv - Tbilisi - Kyiv flights
Azerbaijani state budget receipts through State Customs Committee exceed forecasts
All news