Azerbaijan says cooling in relations with EU due to Karabakh conflict

Baku: The main reason of cooling in relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union is that Europe hasn’t expressed its clear position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict so far, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev told reporters on Dec.3.

Azerbaijan is awaiting the mandate of the European Union to start the talks on signing a new strategic partnership agreement with this organization, the deputy FM said.

“Earlier, Azerbaijan presented the new draft agreement to the EU. It envisages establishment of strategic partnership relations between the two sides,” he noted.

“The EU position is somehow different and it is planned to hold several meetings and general discussions in the organization,” he said. “After receiving the mandate, it will be possible to start talks on the agreement.”

“During the Riga summit, it was noted that the EU supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Eastern Partnership countries. But the final communiqué didn’t include a paragraph on the possible settlement of the conflict,” said the deputy minister.

He pointed out that the EU expressed support to the territorial integrity of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.

“When it comes to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Europe says that the OSCE Minsk Group should deal with this issue,” said Mammadguliyev. “But they don’t say on which principles this conflict should be resolved.”

“Why is your position different with regard to Azerbaijan unlike the conflict of other countries? Meanwhile, Europe always talks about Azerbaijan’s importance in energy security, combating terrorism and so on. Therefore, the relations between Azerbaijan and the EU are somehow cold,” he added.

Mammadguliyev said FM Elmar Mammadyarov held a meeting with EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn as part of the Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue in Tbilisi.

“EU High Representative Federica Mogherini is expected to visit Azerbaijan early 2016. I consider that we need to get out of the situation. However, we should maintain our position. We should achieve the negotiations to be conducted within this strategic framework, because Europe is very important in terms of economy, possessing technology and good governance,” he noted.

“We can learn much from Europe,” he said. “Meanwhile, we will demand from Europe to hold a position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict close to that of Azerbaijan.”