Azerbaijan, Baku, July 16 / Trend H.Valiyev/
The EU and the South Caucasus are developing fruitful relations and strengthening cooperation. This will encourage democratic development and poverty reduction in the three countries in the region, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said.
EU South Caucasus Department Director John Kjaer read Ashton's letter in Baku at the outset of negotiations on signing an association agreement between Azerbaijan and the EU.
"The negotiations are the beginning of this process. There is a need for serious work on both sides," Ashton wrote in the letter.
Economic integration will an give impetus to developing a market economy, implementing international standards, promoting competition, and increasing domestic and foreign investment, she added.
"Discussions on the association agreement actually demonstrate the EU's loyalty to deepening relations with Azerbaijan and the whole region," Ashton stressed.
Mammadguliyev said the agreement provides for the deepening of political and economic dialogue between parties and cooperation in international security, stability and peace in the South Caucasus.
The EU has the potential to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which is also reflected in the document," he said.
The EU delegation is led by South Caucasus Department Director John Kjaer.
The Eastern Partnership Program was officially launched at an EU summit in Prague.