EU may issue mandate for talks on new deal with Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 4
By Anakhanum Hidayatova – Trend:
The mandate to start negotiations on the new agreement on strategic modernized partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan may be issued until end of 2016, Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Azerbaijan’s deputy foreign minister, told Trend Nov. 4.
“Azerbaijan doesn’t interfere in internal discussions of the EU, and Europe itself considers all issues,” said Mammad-Guliyev. “I don’t think that there is any negativity from the EU about the new agreement. Europe can always propose to make changes.”
He noted that earlier the parties held several joint consultations and video conferencing on the new agreement.
A number of visits to Azerbaijan from the EU are expected in the near future, but these visits aren’t related to the mandate, noted the deputy foreign minister.
He added that in November, there will be a number of visits, including in the field of transportation.
Relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are developing in a positive way and the parties continue to negotiate within the framework of the existing cooperation mechanism, he said.
“Once the mandate is issued, bilateral relations will further deepen. A meeting of subcommittees has been held recently and suggestions have been made that we will consider,” noted the deputy foreign minister. “The next meeting of the subcommittee on energy, ecology and transport will be held in December and subcommittees will end their work with it.”
He added that relations between the sides’ parliaments are also developing dynamically and these relations will further develop.
“If we sign the agreement, our cooperation will be much stronger,” said Mammad-Guliyev.
Currently, bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation that was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999.
The new agreement envisages the compliance of Azerbaijan’s legislation and procedures with the EU’s most important international and trade norms and standards, which should lead to the improvement of Azerbaijani goods’ access to the EU markets.
Currently, the EU is Azerbaijan’s major trade partner.
The share of European countries in Azerbaijan’s foreign trade was 37.12 percent in January-September 2016, according to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee. Currently, European countries account for 27.89 and 45.87 percent of Azerbaijani import and export, respectively. European countries mainly deliver vehicles and transportation equipments to Azerbaijan and import oil products.
Azerbaijan initiated to sign an agreement on strategic modernized partnership with the EU instead of the agreement about association. This is not a legal document, but rather a program, a plan of action aimed at the expansion of cooperation with the EU beyond energy. The new agreement will define new directions of partnership such as education and other spheres.
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