Baku, January 22, AZERTAC
Azerbaijan and the European Union (EU) are closely cooperating in security, transport and energy fields, head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev said in an interview with Euroactiv news portal.
He noted that the relations with the European Union are one of the main directions of Azerbaijan's foreign policy. “Azerbaijan and the EU are cooperating in many different spheres. Azerbaijan is also an important partner of the Organization in terms of the trade. Also the biggest investor in Azerbaijan are mainly the EU countries. Azerbaijan and the EU are strategic partners in the energy field,” Hajiyev said.
During his interview, Hajiyev also touched upon the issues of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, the finalization of last section of TAP pipeline project, including negotiations on a new partnership agreement with the EU, the EU's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, geopolitics, trade, the 20 January events and other issues.
On the question of the current NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation, Hikmat Hajiyev said: “Last year we celebrated 25th anniversary of the Partnership for Peace Program that Azerbaijan joined in 1994. Since then, cooperation with NATO played an important role in security and defense reforms in Azerbaijan. Education, training and exercises provided by different NATO programs were important instruments in Azerbaijan’s defense building and defense reform process.”
Hikmat Hajiyev mentioned that Azerbaijan is currently considered as a reliable and committed partner by NATO. “I am proud to say that today Azerbaijani soldiers shoulder-to-shoulder to NATO allies and partner countries are serving in Afghanistan against terrorism and trying to provide and bring peace and security to this country. Azerbaijan also plays an important role as a transit and logistic hub for the transportation of lifesaving goods for NATO allied partner countries. We also see that there is further potential to develop political consultation and dialogue. Within the visit to Brussels, we had 29+1 format, that is NATO+Azerbaijan format of discussions on general political and regional issues, including the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that I had a good chance to brief NATO colleagues and friends from the partner and allied countries,” he mentioned.
Responding to the question on “How do you assess the EU’s stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?”, Hikmat Hajiyev said: “We have taken a positive note about the EU’s principled and firm position with regard the territorial integrity and sovereignty, and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. Particularly it has been reaffirmed in the Partnership Priorities document that has been signed between the EU and Azerbaijan. We also see the continuation of this policy and especially in the European Parliament’s resolution on implementation of the common foreign and security policy that has been endorsed in the Parliament of the European Union. For us it is critically important, and we appreciate that position.”
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