Azerbaijan to discuss negotiations on association agreement with EU
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 20 / Trend I.Khalilova /
The next meeting of the Azerbaijan-EU cooperation committee will be held in Brussels on November 22, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev told Trend on Tuesday.
Urgent cooperation issues will be discussed within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENPI) and the Eastern Partnership.
"The situation in the negotiations on the association agreement between Azerbaijan and the European Commission will likely to be discussed as the meetings and video conferences have not been held for several months," he said. "The EU does not fulfill its obligations."
According to the agreement with the EU, Azerbaijan works on the basis of documents prepared by the European Commission.
"We expect the updated text of the questions from EU, that is, we must receive the documents on the unresolved issues," he said. "But they do not do this, by explaining this by the lack of experts and busy schedule."
Association agreement includes four directions - political dialogue, including issues of security; justice and human rights; economic, social and humanitarian issues; and trade. Negotiations are conducted on all these directions.
The last direction will create future opportunities for the export of Azerbaijani goods to EU countries. Azerbaijan has already enjoyed the benefits of duty-free export of several thousand types of products to EU countries, but, unfortunately, in this respect the main problem is the quality of goods.
Mammadguliyev said it is very important for Azerbaijan to prepare a quality document that will cover all aspects of the country's activities with EU for longer-term cooperation. So it's difficult to call the possible signing of the Association agreement.
Relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are being carried out under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which was signed in 1996 and came into force in 1999. However, the Government does not intend to artificially extend the signature time of Association agreement, as it will create a legal framework for further cooperation with the EU.
The negotiations on association membership were launched in July 2010.
The EU intends to sign an agreement separately with each of the countries of South Caucasus, and its content will depend on the depth of cooperation with the EU. In addition, it is envisaged to sign a separate agreement on simplification of visa regime with EU countries.
On September 30, 2009 in Brussels, the foreign ministers of the three South Caucasus countries participated in the annual session of the European Council for Cooperation with South Caucasus countries. At this meeting a decision was made on the prospect for associative membership of the South Caucasus countries in the EU, which is the most effective stimulus for conflict resolution and internal reforms in these countries.