Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov addressed the tenth informal meeting of foreign ministers of the Eastern Partnership member countries in Minsk on Friday.
Mammadyarov called the year 2017 a turning point in the development of EU-Azerbaijan relations.
He recalled the Azerbaijani president’s visit to Brussels last year, which he said marked the beginning of negotiations between the EU and Azerbaijan on a new agreement.
Mammadyarov said the launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has opened up important opportunities in the context of cooperation with the EU in the field of transport and communications.
The top diplomat also recalled the opening of the Southern Gas Corridor and the official launch of the TANAP project.
Mammadyarov touched upon visa liberalization between the EU and Azerbaijan, saying there are ample opportunities for cooperation in this field.
With regard to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mammadyarov emphasized that such real threats seriously damage cooperation within the Eastern Partnership.
“While Armenia’s foreign minister talks about peace, his country should first of all withdraw its troops from occupied Azerbaijani territories. The continuation of the occupation remains a major threat to regional peace and security,” he said.
Mammadyarov stressed that Baku supports the promotion of ties between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The foreign minister also referred to the implementation of large-scale projects.
According to Mammadyarov, the work on the Shah Deniz 2 project has been completed by 99 percent, on the South Caucasus pipeline by 100 percent, on TANAP by 94 percent and on TAP by 75 percent.
He went on to announce that the construction of the Greek section of TAP will be completed by November 2018 and the project will be ready in commercial terms by 2020.