Head of the Press Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Leyla Abdullayeva answers the media's question regarding the reservation of Azerbaijan to the Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit.
Answer: As you know, the 6th Eastern Partnership Summit was held in Brussels on December 15, 2021, as a result of which a joint declaration was adopted.
The declaration reflected a number of issues of importance for Azerbaijan, including the EU support to the territorial integrity of all partner countries, including Azerbaijan, within its internationally recognized borders, welcoming the ongoing negotiations on a new draft bilateral agreement between Azerbaijan and the EU, and the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor project in terms of its contribution to the diversification of sources and routes of gas supplies to the EU.
The joint statement also called for global solidarity, enhanced cooperation and multilateralism in preventing the pandemic, mitigating and eliminating its consequences. This is in line with the priorities of our country's chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement to combat COVID-19.
We would also like to emphasize that Azerbaijan has always been against the establishment of the Eastern Partnership program in a confrontational manner. This principle is reflected in the Joint Declaration itself. It is noted that the EaP is based on constructive cooperation and is not directed against anyone. Our country's position is that EU member states and partner countries should not export the challenges and difficulties in their relations with third countries to the EaP program. On the other hand, the EaP program should serve not only the relations of partner countries with the EU, but also the development of relations between them. The EaP program should not pursue policies that undermine the high-level relations that partner countries have established with third countries outside the program.
Due to the fact that the views expressed on Belarus in the Joint Declaration do not comply with the principles of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, Azerbaijan has adopted the Joint Declaration with the proviso. In other words, Azerbaijan has stated that it does not share the position on Belarus in paragraph 11.
Another reservation of Azerbaijan was related to "territories affected by the conflict" in the technical appendix of the Joint Declaration. According to the document, the EU will support organizations operating outside the capitals, in areas affected by the conflict. Azerbaijan, with its reservation, stressed the need to carry out activities in these territories at the request and with the consent of the country to which the territory belongs. This position is based directly on international law and the sovereign rights of states.