The 6th Eastern Partnership Summit of the European Union has been held in Brussels, the capital of the Kingdom of Belgium.
Brussels, December 15, AZERTAC – President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the Summit. The head of state made a speech at the Summit.
President Ilham Aliyev drew attention to the successfully developing Azerbaijan-EU relations and stressed the importance of the “Partnership Priorities” document initialed between the European Union and Azerbaijan in 2018. Noting that more than 90 percent of the work on a new partnership agreement between Azerbaijan and the European Union had been completed, President Ilham Aliyev expressed his hope that the rest of the document would be finalized as a result of negotiations in the coming period.
The President noted that Azerbaijan had signed documents on strategic partnership with nine EU member states, or a third of the member states. He said that these strategic partnership documents signed on a bilateral basis demonstrated the nature of such relations.
President Ilham Aliyev recalled with satisfaction the visit of EU Council President Charles Michel to the South Caucasus region, including Azerbaijan, in July this year and the meetings held during the visit, adding that detailed discussions on regional issues had been held.
The President thanked the President of the European Council for keeping regional issues on the agenda and for his contribution to and support for these processes. He noted that the discussions between the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia, which lasted about five hours at the initiative of Charles Michel on 14 December, were held in a constructive atmosphere.
President Ilham Aliyev stressed Charles Michel’s contribution to the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He also noted that the talks initiated by Charles Michel had been very tangible and detailed. The parties discussed issues such as normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the delimitation and demarcation of borders, the construction of transport infrastructure, especially railways.
At the 6th Eastern Partnership Summit, President Ilham Aliyev noted the constructive atmosphere between Armenia and Azerbaijan, emphasizing the role of the European Union in creating such an environment. The head of state stressed the importance of not missing this opportunity and continuing efforts to ensure lasting peace in the region, taking advantage of the opportunity.
The head of state stressed that the Armenian leadership had usually made baseless and accusatory statements against Azerbaijan during international events in previous years. This time, President Ilham Aliyev praised the absence of such a situation, noting that he, in turn, had not spoken directly against Armenia.
The head of state said that this provided a fertile ground for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been resolved by Azerbaijan itself by military-political means. “The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict no longer exists. We have to look to the future.”
President Ilham Aliyev also touched upon the role of the OSCE Minsk Group, noting that the talks held for 28 years had not yielded any results. He said that Azerbaijan expected a response from the OSCE Minsk Group in accordance with the new geopolitical reality. The head of state noted that the Azerbaijani side believed that the Minsk Group could contribute to the preparation of a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the delimitation of borders, the establishment of contacts between people, confidence-building measures and other issues.
Touching upon the issue of mines in the liberated territories, President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijani civilians had been suffering from their presence, adding that about 200 people had been killed or injured in mine explosions to date. In this regard, he stressed the importance of the European Union and member states providing technical and financial assistance to Azerbaijan to eliminate the mine problem.
The President also pointed to the cooperation between the European Union and Azerbaijan in the field of energy, noting that these relations were also of the nature of strategic partnership. Emphasizing that the 3,500-kilometer-long Southern Gas Corridor was one of the largest infrastructure projects of the 21st century, President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijani gas was being delivered to Europe with the launch of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, the last component of the project.
He noted that Azerbaijani gas was already being delivered to three EU countries – Italy, Greece and Bulgaria. In the future, Azerbaijan intends to expand the geography of gas exports to other EU member states. Emphasizing that Azerbaijani gas was being delivered to the EU market as a reliable and new source, the President said that the recent events had also shown the importance of diversification in terms of energy security.
In conclusion, President Ilham Aliyev once again thanked the President of the European Council for his contribution to the normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations.