- Was it a good summit?
A: I am here in this town for five years and participated in three of Eastern Partnership Summits. From my experience I can say it was a best summit I have ever seen and participated. It was very constructive, future oriented, based on “real politic”, united the people, united the countries, make them closer to each other.
- What is the most important message for Azerbaijan from the Eastern Partnership summit Joint Declaration?
A: Many positive elements for Azerbaijan in Joint Declaration. Let’s start from the very obvious one. It is position of the EU countries in case of supporting independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all EP countries. In case of conflict resolution it wasn’t any dividing approach that one problem should be solved in one case, another in other one. No, in case of conflict resolution, position of the EU and neighborhood countries was absolutely clear: they have general approach, based on the norms and principles of the international law, based on sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. It is crucially important for four out of six countries. Four countries unfortunately have been involved in conflicts, and we know the main reasons, but if we go to the details it will be disaster. Because in this case EU could become the battlefield for confrontation. But the position of EU countries and its EP partners were absolutely unified. We have general approach, and based on it, used this platform of Eastern Partnership for more development, more independence, and more sovereignty.
- For Azerbaijan territorial integrity relates to Nagorno Karabakh, for Ukraine – it’s Crimea and Donbass, for Moldova – it’s Transnistria, and for Georgia – it’s Abkhazia and South Osetia. Do you think the summit message was clear?
A: Definitely yes. Because, you can call these conflicts by other names, one is going in one country, another in other one, but we see them as infection. You have it now in neighbourhood, but tomorrow it could be in your own house. We see the processes, which are going in the region, which are going even inside of EU and it’s the very serious threat to the European security and its internal and foreign policy. I am very happy it is appropriately reflected in Global Strategy of EU on the foreign and security policy. It was also mentioned in Joint Declaration. That is the main core of Joint Declaration. That is the position of EU based on Global Strategy. We need to protect our unity from such kind of artificial moves led by other players in such kind of conflicts.
- What else you would like to highlight from the summit’s Joint Declaration?
A: Joint Declaration and generally all the statements, which have been made by head of delegation, were much wider than just sovereignty, independence, etc. So many things have been highlighted. First of all, connectivity. Connectivity between countries, connectivity between people and transportation routes. Our Southern Gas Corridor was specially highlighted there. Negotiations on Azerbaijan-EU new agreement was specially mentioned there. An ongoing EU-Azerbaijan negotiation on Free Aviation Agreement is also mentioned in document. It was specially highlighted that Azerbaijan should be ready for launching visa liberalization agreement. It’s also a new approach. We also had an Annex, called 2020 deliverables. It’s absolutely pragmatic approach, future oriented, with strategic content. My Minister and Madam Mogherini signed very serious and important document on TEN-T, expansion of transportation routes, connecting Europe and Asia on the territory of Azerbaijan. It’s create absolutely new opportunities for us, after the launching the new railway Baku-Tbilisi-Kars. After the starting of such transportation hub Azerbaijan, together with our neighbours, becoming the main hub between the Europe and Asia. This document is crucially important for us. So, if you ask me generally, this is mostly about future, real policy, pragmatic, future oriented and tailor made Joint Declaration.
- What is the next on your EU agenda?
A: Of course, continuation of our negotiations on new agreement between Azerbaijan and EU. It started immediately after the summit, on Monday. We had a new round of political and security elements of new agreement. This process will continue. I hope we will synchronize this process with implementation of all our projects and both them, in parallel, will give us exceptional opportunity, to have something, which we never had before. When you have a strong political dialog in all the spheres: human rights, democracy, education, culture, multiculturalism, but based on the very strong commercial, economic platform, Southern Gas Corridor, transportation hub. This is what we would like to have. In this case Azerbaijan-EU relations will not be a new headache and problematic issue for EU neighbourhood policy but a new achievement. Because the EU can engage the new countries, neighbours of neighbours and, in this particular case, Azerbaijan, with its very serious neighbourhood, you know in which part of the world we are located, will be one the best and most predictable partners of European Union.