Azerbaijani President: Eastern Partnership Program opens up new opportunities for active dialogue

Azerbaijani President: Eastern Partnership Program opens up new opportunities for active dialogue

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and European Union president Herman Van Rompuy have given a joint press conference following their meeting in the Belgian capital, Azerbaijani President's official website reported.

Van Rompuy praised Azerbaijan`s win in the Eurovision song contest.

"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."

The EU president expressed the organization`s commitment to develop relations with Azerbaijan.

"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," he told the Azerbaijani leader.

"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."

Van Rompuy added: "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."

The EU president touched upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, underlining "the strong EU support for a peaceful resolution of this long standing dispute in the EU's neighbourhood".

"It is now high time to make additional efforts to finalise the agreement on the Basic Principles. This would allow to start negotiations on a peace agreement soon," Van Rompuy added.

He also praised Azerbaijan`s role in ensuring Europe`s energy security. "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," he said.

President Aliyev praised the Azerbaijan-EU relations, saying "today they have entered a new stage".

The President said the Eastern Partnership Program opened up new opportunities for an active dialogue.

He said the work on the Association Agreement was underway, adding it would cover a number of fields.

"The agreement will allow creating a framework for a longer cooperation which will make us closer to Europe."

On the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Azerbaijani leader said a recent statement by heads of state of OSCE Minsk Group`s co-chairing countries was encouraging.

"Their statement in which they said that the status-quo is not acceptable and must be changed, and that the conflict must be solved on the basis of the Helsinki Final Act was quite encouraging."

"We want the conflict to be solved as soon as possible so that hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis can return to their homelands."

The President highlighted the Azerbaijan-EU energy cooperation.

"Our energy cooperation has a good history, today Europe has become one of the main consumers of our energy resources."

President Aliyev stressed the importance of the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of the Southern Gas Corridor, which he signed with the European Commission President in Baku this January.

The Azerbaijani leader said the declaration would give Europe an access to "alternative, reliable and huge gas resources".

President Aliyev expressed confidence "the friendly and partner relations" between his country and the European Union would successfully continue in the future.

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