On July 8, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev received at the Presidential Palace the delegation of the European Union led by Deputy State Secretary on Foreign Affairs of Italy Mrs. Margherita Boniver.Sincerely welcoming the guests, President Heydar Aliyev noted that he highly appreciates co-operation between Azerbaijan and European Union. ”Co-operation with Europe is of strategic significance for us, this is one of the priority directions of our foreign policy”, he said.The President pointed out the importance of this visit for Azerbaijan, and expressed hope that from now on the European Union would pay more attention to the country. Having expressed deep gratitude to the President of Azerbaijan for the audience, Mrs. Margherita Boniver introduced her delegation members.She further noted that the goal of this visit was to announce that the European Union is ready for joint work with Azerbaijan in every possible sphere, and would be a promoter of the country’s progress in every possible way. According to Mrs. Boniver, the European Union wants the regional conflicts to be solved by peace way only, and elections to be held on the principles of democracy. “You can be absolutely sure of that”, President Heydar Aliyev said in this regard, ‘although 20 percent of our lands are under occupation of the Armenian armed forces, we signed the cease-fire agreement in 1994 and have been adhering to this regime up to now.’ The president expressed opinion that the European Union should approach more seriously to this issue, and use its instruments to promote peaceful resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Garabkh conflict. Speaking of the upcoming elections, President Heydar Aliyev assured the EU’s delegation that the elections would be held on the principles of full transparency, justice and democracy. ‘Public opinion poll showed that overwhelming majority of the nation supports and would vote for the present Azerbaijan authorities’, the President stressed. ***The reception was attended by Chief of the Presidential Secretariat Dilara Seidzadeh, Chief of the Foreign Relations Department of the Presidential Administration Novruz Mammadov, Ambassador of Italy to Azerbaijan Margarita Costa and Head of the Azerbaijan’s representative in the EU Arif Mammadov.
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