Azerbaijani Top Diplomat delivers speech at Eastern Partnership Foreign Affairs Minister’s meeting

Azerbaijani Top Diplomat delivers speech at Eastern Partnership Foreign Affairs Minister’s meeting
# 12 December 2023 02:55 (UTC +04:00)

On December 11, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov attended the Eastern Partnership Foreign Affairs Minister’s meeting as part of his working visit to Brussels, the Ministry told APA.

The meeting started with the speeches of High Representative Joseph Borrel and Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi.

Delivering a speech at the meeting, Jeyhun Bayramov said that it is a good opportunity to review 'where we stand concerning the Eastern Partnership and to decide on next steps'.

"Since inception of the EaP, Azerbaijan has always advocated that there have been notable differences amongst EaP Partners in terms of their domestic situations, economic development and foreign policies. We believed that the EaP priorities also need to be in line with the realities of the region and ongoing regional initiatives. For Azerbaijan the EaP has always been a framework supporting and complementing our bilateral relations with the EU.

Although on numerous occasions and in documents, the EaP highlighted a need for differentiation and tailor-made approach in the relations with Partners, in reality the EU has yet to bring these principles into a sub-regional context, including in view of ample opportunities in the South Caucasus for development of transport and communication links.

We still believe that with right approach and adaptation to the regional development trends, the EaP can contribute positively to the cooperation and engagement of the EU with the region. It is high time to invest in the viability instead of visibility of the EaP.

We fully support and encourage synergies with the Central Asian partners in line with the EU-Central Asia Strategy and with the aim to enhance regional transport, energy and digital connectivity. We support and encourage potential participation of Central Asian partners in relevant EaP events, and vice versa.

We also believe that greater engagement with the Western Balkans will be useful to build more resilient and interconnected region.

The expansion of the Southern Gas Corridor and delivery of additional gas volumes, as well as potential export of green energy to Europe remains our priority. We are investing a lot into green energy transition. At the COP28 in Dubai Summit, the Government of Azerbaijan joined the Global Pledge to triple renewable capacity and double energy efficiency worldwide by 2030. The SOCAR announced its 2050 “net-zero” goal and signed Global Decarbonization Act. Moreover, the support of Azerbaijan’s bid to host COP29 next year is acknowledgement of my country’s sustainable policy and strategy on climate action and green energy transition.

There is a good progress on Black Sea Submarine Cable project, so-called “Middle Green Corridor.” At the meeting of the Parties in Budapest an agreement was reached to start process of Bulgaria’s accession to the project. I am glad to note a great interest to this initiative from the Central Asian countries.

Increased transit flows through the Middle Corridor via the territory of Azerbaijan, including transit of critical materials (note: uranium), reinforces the Middle Corridor as a sustainable, secure and reliable route.

Digitalization of the Middle Corridor is critical in providing transparency and facilitating transit. Within the Digital Silk Way – new fiber-optic infrastructure between Asia and Europe – we are actively working with our partners in Central Asia and Black Sea region. The digital transformation can be a horizontal priority within the EaP.

We will engage closely with our partners in Georgia, Romania and Turkmenistan to enhance cooperation along the Black Sea-Caspian Sea international cargo transport route.

Azerbaijan is also interested in resumption and soonest conclusion of the negotiations on Azerbaijan-EU new bilateral agreement. The progress and successful outcome require goodwill and compromise from both sides," Jeyhun Bayramov said.

The full text of the foreign minister's speech can be found in this link.