President Ilham Aliyev, President of European Council Donald Tusk make press statements (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on July 9 at 15:19)

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 9

Trend:

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Council Donald Tusk have made press statements.

Statement of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

Dear Mr President,

Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen!

First of all, I would like to once again welcome President of the European Council Mr Donald Tusk to Azerbaijan. It is not the first time Mr President is visiting us, second time in his capacity as a President of the European Council. I many times visited Brussels. So this shows that we have a very active political dialogue and today’s visit of Mr President once again demonstrates that relations between European Commission and Azerbaijan has a very positive dynamics.

Today during our tête-à-tête meeting and meeting with delegations we discussed broad range of issues of our bilateral cooperation, regional development, regional security. We discussed ongoing negotiations between European Commission and Azerbaijan on new agreement. We expressed views on future prospects for negotiations. The negotiations continue successfully. Many issues have been already resolved and we are working now on remaining issues in the spirit of good partnership.

Last year the Partnership Priorities document was adopted between the European Commission and Azerbaijan. This is a very important document. It expresses support to territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders of Azerbaijan. Today during our tête-à-tête meeting with Mr President I informed him about our position with respect to resolution of Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The conflict must be resolved based on territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. For many years our territories are under Armenian occupation, more than million refugees and IDPs suffer from this aggression and occupation and our firm position is that the conflict must be resolved in the framework of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Our efforts are aimed at the soonest resolution of the conflict. Unconstructive position of Armenia is the main reason for conflict not to be resolved yet, and I am sure that the efforts of international community and OSCE Minsk Group must be aimed at soonest resolution of the conflict. The status-quo is not acceptable, and must be changed, and the change of status-quo means beginning of de-occupation of Azerbaijani territories.

Today we also discussed the issues related to energy security, the issues related to transportation sector. In these areas Azerbaijan and the European Union have a very constructive cooperation. The project of Southern Gas Corridor is being successfully implemented and with respect to transportation sector, the investments in logistics and transportation sector in Azerbaijan allowed us to transform us to an important transportation hub. East-West and North-South corridors are crossing our country. Of course, our geographical location is advantageous but without investments in transportation sector this geographical location would not mean a lot. Therefore, our efforts during the last years in this respect already brought good results. Azerbaijan is becoming an important transitor and in the future our role as a transitor will definitely grow. We have good cooperation also in other sectors, and hopefully, all our plans will be implemented. Because relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan are based on good spirit, on spirit of partnership and mutual support.

I especially would like to express gratitude to President Tusk for his personal contribution to the development of these relations. He is well aware about situation in Azerbaijan. His role in bringing us closer is very important and we from our side also do a lot in order to strengthen cooperation between the European Union and Azerbaijan. Also I would like to mention that with several member states of EU, Azerbaijan already has adopted or signed documents on strategic partnership, and this also is a good contribution to our cooperation. So once again, Mr President, welcome and thank you for being with us today.

Statement of President of the European Council Donald Tusk

Thank you, Mr President, first of all for your warm welcome and hospitality. It is a true pleasure to be back in Baku, the city of winds.

Azerbaijan is unique. It combines tradition and modernity. You look both to the East and to the West, thanks to your strategic location in today's complex geopolitical landscape. And as I have said before, Mister President, the EU supports Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

The EU and Azerbaijan come closer to each other every year. Our relations have intensified and my visit today is another clear sign of this. In 2018 we adopted priorities for our partnership, and our negotiations on a Common Aviation Area Agreement, as well as on the new EU-Azerbaijan agreement, are close to completion. Our economies will profit from them, and our political, business and cultural relations will deepen. And we should of course not forget the Southern Gas Corridor that – quite literally - connects us. This positive momentum should bring our partnership to a higher level, directly benefit all our people, and accompany Azerbaijan's own reform processes and economic diversification.

Azerbaijan has taken impressive steps to transform itself into a transport and logistics hub. I am looking forward to visiting later today the Port of Baku, which is an illustration of Azerbaijan's ambition to the East and the West but also to its northern and southern partners.

Today, in my discussions with President Aliyev, I reconfirmed the EU's readiness to further deepen our cooperation with Azerbaijan, underlining also the essential importance we attach to the respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The EU believes that a truly open society is the best guarantee of long-term stability and a good life for all citizens.

Referring to stability in the region, we also discussed the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. There is no military solution but only a political settlement in accordance with international law and principles. The EU continues to fully support the efforts of the Minsk Group co-chairs and their focus on a fair and lasting settlement based on the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act.

We appreciate the overall decrease of tensions but like the co-chairs, we have been concerned by the recent casualties along the line of contact. Restraint is important and so are measures to restore an atmosphere conducive to peace and favourable to productive talks. The EU is already supporting peace-building activities and is ready to assist concrete measures to prepare the populations for peace.

Finally, later today I will have the privilege to visit Gobustan. The petroglyphs and inscriptions by Roman legionnaires are a testament to the significant place Azerbaijan has had in Europe for millennia. Humbled by this time horizon, I look forward to us developing our partnership in the years to come. Thank you Mr President.

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