Date of EU high rep’s visit to Azerbaijan revealed (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on 11:10)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 11

By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini will visit Azerbaijan in late February-early March 2016, head of EU delegation in Azerbaijan Malena Mard told reporters Jan.11.

The program of the visit is still under discussion by the parties, she said.

Mogherini will visit key countries for the EU in terms of importance during the tour, according to Mard.

Azerbaijan expects to get the mandate of the Council of the European Union (EU) for holding the negotiations on a new agreement on strategic partnership, Mahmud Mammadguliyev, the Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister, told Trend earlier.

This agreement will determine the format of the future cooperation with the EU.

"The Azerbaijani government has submitted a draft agreement to the EU in May 2015 as part of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga," he said. "Today we expect to get a mandate from the Council of the EU to start the negotiations."

At present, the bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation, which was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999.

According to the new agreement, it is planned to adjust the Azerbaijani legislation and procedures to the EU most important international and trade norms and standards, which must improve the delivery of Azerbaijani goods to the EU markets.

Today, the EU is the main trade partner of Azerbaijan.

According to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, the share of European countries in the Azerbaijani foreign trade is 46.8 percent in January-October 2015. At present, some 30.51 percent and 59.23 percent of Azerbaijani imports and exports account for the EU countries respectively. The European countries mainly supply machinery, transport equipment and import oil products to Azerbaijan.

Instead of an association agreement, Azerbaijan put forward an initiative of concluding an agreement on strategic modernization partnership with the EU. This document is an action plan, aimed at expanding our cooperation with the EU. The agreement will determine new areas of partnership, such as education and other areas.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Anahanum

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