Azerbaijan prepares for another round of talks with EU on visa issues
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 10 / Trend A.Akhundov /
The next meeting on visa agreement between Azerbaijan and the European Union will be held in September-October, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev told Trend.
"There was a preliminary agreement to hold a meeting in September and now we are specifying the exact date. I think the next negotiations should be held in September-October," Mammadguliyev said.
Formal negotiations on the EU-Azerbaijan agreements on visa facilitation and readmission agreements were launched in March in Baku. Then, according to the deputy minister, an interruption in the negotiations related to the holiday season began.
"I guess we'll start with the video conference and then if the need arises in the plenary session, we will hold it," the deputy minister said.
Agreement on the simplification of visa entry for citizens of Azerbaijan provides for a reduction of the list of documents submitted along with the application for a visa and the ability to issue multiple entry visas with a longer validity period thus reducing the cost of visas for particular categories and to establish time limits for processing an application.
The agreement on readmission will in turn, develop a mechanism for repatriation of those residing in the EU and Azerbaijan without permission.
Relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are being carried out under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which was signed in 1996 and came into force in 1999. In 2009, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the EU Commission issued a mandate to start negotiations on the conclusion of bilateral association agreements of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia with the EU. These agreements will be a new practical instrument to replace the bilateral action plans.
Azerbaijan is also included in the EU program Eastern Partnership, adopted at the initiative of Poland and Sweden, and approved at the EU summit in Brussels in 2008. The Eastern Partnership is aimed at the political and economic rapprochement of six post-Soviet states - Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus and the EU. The program provides a significant increase in the level of political engagement, broad integration of the former Soviet republics in the EU economy, increase in the amount of financial assistance and strengthening of energy security.