Remarks by President Donald Tusk after his meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
Eurooppa-neuvoston puheenjohtajan tiedottaja
I am pleased to welcome President Aliyev to Brussels today.
Azerbaijan is an important partner for the European Union, whose independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity we support.
We want to build on our reliable and strategic partnership in the energy field. Azerbaijan is important for Europe's energy security and diversification of supplies. We have a shared commitment to finalise the Southern Gas Corridor; in fact it is a key priority for both sides.
The European Union is already Azerbaijan's main trading partner and one of its most important investors. We intend to expand these commercial relations further in the coming years. We discussed how our strengthened cooperation will help modernise and diversify the Azerbaijani economy. For Azerbaijan to also move forward in the WTO talks would pave the way for a competitive business environment that would drive our economic integration.
During our talks, I stressed the importance we attach to human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression. The EU believes that an open society is the best guarantee for long term stability and prosperity. We look forward to continuing to work as partners on these issues.
Azerbaijan acts as a bridge between cultures. This is very welcome in view of the challenges that we currently face in our common neighbourhood.
We discussed the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The status quo is unsustainable. The conflict does not have a military solution and needs an early political settlement in accordance with international law. The EU continues to fully support the mediation efforts and proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
Our relations go beyond energy and trade: We want to upgrade our relationship and develop its full potential through a new bilateral agreement. I am very happy to announce that tomorrow, the negotiations on a new EU-Azerbaijan agreement will be launched. I wish our negotiators every success.
This new agreement will broaden the scope of our relations, taking into account the new global, political and economic interests we share and challenges we want to face together. Mr. President, thanks again for coming to Brussels.