Azerbaijan working on proposal put forth by Russia on behalf of co-chairs – FM

Baku: Azerbaijan is working on the proposal put forth by the Russian side on behalf of the co-chairs, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said.

The FM made the remarks at the 6th Eastern Partnership Informal Ministerial Dialogue in Tbilisi Nov.26.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution is definitely the weakest brick in the wall of cooperation, Mammadyarov said.

“The withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, return of IDPs, people-to-people contacts between Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan are all important elements we need to focus on. We all are united in the view that unresolved conflicts seriously impede cooperation in the region,” he noted.

According to the minister, many things changed since Riga Summit, such as tragic events in Paris, developments on the Syrian border.

“We must cooperate to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. This is of utmost importance,” he said.

Azerbaijan welcomes the differentiation approach as has been announced in ENP review document, the FM stressed.

“There should also be a balance between addressing the challenge of migration and human rights issues, fundamental freedoms versus anti-radicalism and it is also important to curb the rise of Islamophobic tendencies in Europe,” said Mammadyarov.

According to the minister, Azerbaijan, as EaP partners constantly hears criticism with regard to human rights issues in partner states. “But how is about EU itself? The civil society forum should also highlight critical human rights issues in EU member states as well if we are seriously considering mutual ownership,” he added.

Energy has always been and will be an important area of cooperation with EU, according to Mammadyarov.

“The work on the Southern Gas Corridor is proceeding smoothly. We expect the gas from Azerbaijan to reach Europe at the end of 2018 or early 2019. That said, EU’s overall support is important for the SGC to be realized in a timely manner,” he added.

Mammadyarov said transport is another important area of cooperation.

“The Silk Road (Silk Wind) initiative by Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia is important not only for us, but also for EU that wishes to intensify cooperation with Central Asia,” said the minister, noting that this transport corridor will link Europe to this region via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and even further eastwards to China.

SOURCE: AZERI-PRESS NEWS AGENCY

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