Baku, Azerbaijan, July 19
By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:
The negotiations on a new agreement on strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and the European Union are being held thoroughly and fruitfully, Fuad Iskandarov, head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the EU, Azerbaijani ambassador to Belgium, said in an interview with Trend.
"Azerbaijan is the first country in the history of the European Union, which presented its draft agreement as a partner country,” he said.
“Azerbaijan handed over the EU its draft agreement on strategic partnership with the EU at the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, Latvia in 2015,” he said. “The negotiations are held on the basis of this document."
“First of all, the goal of the agreement is to establish equal strategic and future-oriented relations between Azerbaijan and the EU,” the ambassador said.
"We do not rush to sign the agreement,” he said. “The content of negotiations is more important for us.”
The negotiations were launched almost immediately after the visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Brussels on February 6, 2017. President Aliyev and President of the European Council Donald Tusk launched the negotiation process.
The ambassador said that another round of talks on politics and security will be held as part of the new agreement in Brussels on July 19.
"In general, the negotiation process covers three spheres, namely, politics and security, economy and trade, sectors covering all other branches of bilateral relations,” he saidç adding that the negotiations are held in all three spheres.
He added that the negotiations on the issues of politics and security are a dialogue on strategic partnership, where the sides discuss bilateral interaction on equal terms.
"This is a key issue for us and these directions cover a lot of issues, in particular, issues of political dialogue, regional and strategic security," Iskandarov said.
As for the economy and trade, the diplomat added that Azerbaijan has a very pragmatic approach to the cooperation with the EU in this area.
"We are establishing a political dialogue based on a good economic basis," he said. “The Southern Gas Corridor is a serious project with a good economic basis for a fruitful political dialogue.”
"We proceed from the very profound economic interaction,” he said. “By synchronizing, we are establishing our political dialogue on the basis of this economic interaction.”
“The negotiations on a strategic partnership agreement are the result of a pragmatic and equitable policy based on serious economic interaction,” he added.
The diplomat added that the EU became the key trade partner of Azerbaijan and the country’s share of trade with the European Union in various years reached from 43.2 percent to 53 percent.
On November 14, 2016, the European Council issued a mandate to the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan on behalf of the EU and its member states.
The new agreement must replace the partnership and cooperation agreement signed in 1996 and must more take into account the common goals and challenges facing the EU and Azerbaijan today.