European Parliament discusses Azerbaijan-EU talks on associative agreement

European Parliament discusses Azerbaijan-EU talks on associative agreement
# 18 April 2012 08:07 (UTC +04:00)
European parliamentarians discussed a draft resolution submitted by Finnish parliamentarian Anneli Jäätteenmäki on March 27, 2012 on behalf of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The draft resolution will be put to vote in the plenary meeting on Wednesday. The European Parliament also discussed the Armenia-EU associative agreement talks. The parliament intends to show its active involvement in the solution to Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

Anneli Jäätteenmäki said Azerbaijan is very important partner for Europe. “Azerbaijan provides the European Union countries with energy resources today. Conducting talks on associative agreement with Azerbaijan is important for both sides and the interests of both sides are protected there. We hope our recommendations within the framework of these negotiations will bring stability to the region and assist to reach peace agreement on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Both sides suffer from this conflict. Unfortunately the OSCE Minsk Group talks couldn’t lead to the solution so far. Despite it we are looking forward for the intensification of negotiations toward this. I consider that the Minsk Group should increase its efforts. Azerbaijan and Armenia should also make more efforts and show interest in final peace agreement. Of course, the energy is not an only issue negotiated with Azerbaijan. We closely watch the state of human rights in this country. It is impossible to reach economic development without protection of human rights. The fulfillment of Azerbaijan’s commitments on human rights is very important and this country must do much work. Other important issue is that Azerbaijan hosts Eurovision Song Contest this year. Some people call to boycott the contest in Azerbaijan, but I consider that it is not correct. Of course, the state of human rights should be in the focus of attention. On the other hand, it is important for the European youth to come together within this contest and to exchange cultural values”.

Then EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule expressed his opinion concerning the topic on agenda. Fule said that he had recently visited Baku, as well as met with Armenian president in Brussels, underlined the importance of making a report by the European Parliament on the process of negotiations for associative agreement between both countries and EU: “Our relations with South Caucasian countries, especially Azerbaijan and Armenia are paramount issues. I gave two major messages at the meetings with both countries’ officials. At first, I want to say that we are ready to extend our relations with these both countries. Secondly, our wish is to see democracy, human rights, as well as an achievement of concrete progresses on several issues as settlement of the conflict. We have already held 5 plenary meetings on Azerbaijan within negotiations started in July 2010 and I must note the achievement of certain progresses in this period. 13 paragraphs of 28- paragraph document on economic reforms were coordinated with Azerbaijan. Besides, certain positive results were achieved in the fields of politics, security, justice and freedoms. I consider that current negotiations held for associative agreement between both countries and EU are very important and play a great role in extension of our relations with these two countries. These agreements are very important tools to develop bilateral relations with both countries within the Eastern Partnership program.

Practically there is no any relationship between Azerbaijan and Armenia today. Recently the EU has already expressed its concern on slow progress of peace negotiations. We called the both countries to increase their attempts in this direction to reach agreement on Madrid principles. Besides, unpleasant incidents through the frontline also worry us. That’s why we called the both countries to fulfill all responsibilities which accepted within the Minsk Group. The EU is also ready to support for restoration and strengthening of mutual confidence. Besides, the EU could also render assistance to investigate incidents in the frontline.

Then the members of the European Parliament participated in the discussions on negotiations on the associative agreement for the both countries. Then the issues of democracy, human rights, freedom of the press, as well as relations between Azerbaijan and the EU, EP, European Council and other European institutions were raised during the discussions.

The last round of the negotiations on the associative agreement between Azerbaijan and European Union, which started on July 15, 2010, was held in Baku in October, 2011.
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