Ambassador Fuad Isgandarov's interview for "Trend" news agency on EU-Azerbaijan relations

EU supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity – ambassador

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 20

By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:

The European Union (EU) supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and this position remains unchanged, Fuad Isgandarov, head of the Azerbaijani mission to the EU and the country’s ambassador to Belgium, said in an interview with Trend.

The European Union has repeatedly expressed unequivocal support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the country’s position on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, despite the fact that it doesn’t have a mandate to resolve it, noted Isgandarov.

This position was voiced by President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, as well as the European Parliament, as it was in 2013, when it was clearly stated that territories of a member country of the Eastern Partnership shouldn’t be occupied by another member country of the Eastern Partnership, added the ambassador.

Meanwhile, it was clearly stated about the need to implement the four resolutions of the UN Security Council on the conflict and the withdrawal of all occupying forces of Armenia from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, he added.

The diplomat noted that heads of the EU’s executive institutions have also repeatedly spoken about the support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity during their speeches.

Azerbaijan’s positive assessment on this position was expressed by the country’s President Ilham Aliyev during the visit to Brussels in February 2017, said Isgandarov.

Speaking about the relations of Azerbaijan with the European Parliament, the ambassador emphasized that they continued after a one-year break.

He reminded that these relations were frozen in 2015, both at the bilateral level and at the level of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly after the adoption of a completely blatant and inadequate resolution against Azerbaijan by the European Parliament.

Subsequently, the Azerbaijani parliament adopted a relevant resolution, where it was clearly stated about the termination of cooperation with the European Parliament, continued Isgandarov.

However, in 2016, the European Parliament took several positive steps towards Azerbaijan in order to revive these relations, added the ambassador.

The Azerbaijani side reacted positively, and representative delegations of the European Parliament visited Azerbaijan in September 2016 and in May 2017. During these visits, it was clearly stated about the position of the European Parliament on supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

In this context, the relations are developing quite predictably, noted the ambassador.

According to him, there are also some problems in relations; a number of members of the European Parliament are trying to damage the relations with Azerbaijan. Criminal cases have been filed in Azerbaijan against three MEPs for illegal visits to the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia.

Moreover, the ambassador recalled the rather strong reaction of many members of the European Parliament to the recent shelling of Azerbaijani civilians by the Armenian armed forces in the Alkhanli village of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli district, as a result of which a two-year-old girl and her grandmother were killed, and another resident of the village was seriously wounded.

Such a reaction of MEPs shows the attitude of the European Parliament to the situation as a whole, added Isgandarov.

Attempts by unfriendly individuals to neutralize this position of the EU through attacks on Azerbaijan related to human rights are doomed to fail, said the ambassador.

"For example, there are statements that Azerbaijan is allegedly not interested in reflecting the provisions on cooperation in the field of democracy and human rights in the new agreement, but this is not true. The draft agreement, presented by Azerbaijan, sets out these provisions in a detailed form, which were assessed very positively by our European partners," noted Isgandarov.

"I want to emphasize that the negotiations on the new agreement are based on the project presented by Azerbaijan. This says a lot," added the ambassador.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.


Azerbaijan wants to see more European companies involved in transport corridor projects

By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:

Azerbaijan expects greater involvement of European companies in the implementation of transport corridor projects in the country, the country’s Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Fuad Isgandarov said in an interview with Trend.

Along with the energy cooperation, Azerbaijan is also interested in attracting Belgian investments in other spheres of the economy, he noted.

Today, the political dialogue between Azerbaijan and Belgium is at a high level, which was demonstrated by the meeting of King Philippe of Belgium with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in Brussels during a visit at the invitation of the European Council’s President Donald Tusk, added Isgandarov.

The diplomat said the two countries, which mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year, have great reserves for the development of economic cooperation.

As a key aspect in the expansion of presence of Azerbaijani investments in Belgium and Luxembourg and generally in European countries, the diplomat called a more detailed account of the regulatory and legal framework governing business in the EU, mutual work to improve it, which is being conducted as part of negotiations on the new strategic partnership agreement with the EU.

According to Azerbaijan’s State Statistics Committee, the country’s trade turnover with Belgium amounted to $31.435 million in January-June 2017, increasing by $873,180 or 2.9 percent as compared to the same period of 2016.

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