President Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan-EU relations based on mutual interests and values
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 21 /Trend A. Badalova/
The relations between Azerbaijan and the EU are based on mutual interests and values, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on Friday at the joint press conference in Brussels, with the president of European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, the EU official website reported.
President Ilham Aliyev said that the sides addressed many issues of our cooperation, issues of regional importance.
Ilham Aliyev expressed his gratitude to Jose Manuel Barroso and the European Commission for continuous support shown to Azerbaijan in the issues of democratic development, protection of human rights, political reforms and recommendations.
"They are highly important, and to a large degree they helped Azerbaijan to transform. The process of transformation is very rapid, it covers political reforms, economic reforms, and both trends support each other," the President underscored.
Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan and the EU have a very close economic cooperation.
"The European Union is our main trade partner, and our trade turnover with members of the EU is growing. And this also helps to support the initiatives of the Eastern Partnership Program. We highly value this initiative, I think it's a very important step from European institutions, to engage countries of former Soviet Union into the framework of this cooperation, and Azerbaijan is an active member of Eastern Partnership Group. And now we're working on a very substantial format of the future cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan," he said.
Azerbaijani President noted that the agenda is very broad, and it covers many areas.
"Azerbaijan has already started to invest in European countries, and the diversification of our investment also shows that it is not only energy-related investments but also other areas of mutual interest," the President said. "We also have been enjoying big investments from Europe, which helped us to diversify our economy, and to modernize our country."
According to Azerbaijani President, the sides also discussed the issues regarding settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan highly welcomes the efforts of European Commission in this respect.
"Azerbaijan is the most interested party in this process, because our lands are under occupation. Not just Nagorno-Karabakh, but also 7 districts surrounding it have been under occupation by Armenian forces for more than 20 years. And we need to put an end to that," he said.
Ilham Aliyev further noted that Azerbaijan was encouraged by the recent statement of the Minsk Group Co-chairs countries' presidents, where they said that the solution must be based on the Helsinki Final act, and that both sides must refrain from any actions that can undermine the negotiation process.
"Azerbaijan wants the soonest resolution to the conflict, based on norms and principles of international law, and four Nationa Security Council resolutions, which demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupational forces from internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan," he underscored.