EU expects Azerbaijan’s proposals of strategic cooperation – ambassador

Baku: Malena Mard: “The main thing is that both sides realize the need for the expansion of bilateral cooperation”

As you know EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn is the person responsible for European neighborhood policy. In these terms, the Riga summit is of huge importance. The main challenge, as commissioner Hahn said, is differentiation. Of course, we’ve got to differentiate our relations with each of the six countries that are part of the Eastern Partnership programme.

And this comes from the claims of those countries and their willingness to work with the EU. It will be very interesting to learn the opinions of the six partners in Riga, head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Malena Mard told APA.

Ms Malena Mard also commented on Baku seeking to sign a strategic partnership agreement with the EU instead of an association agreement, saying the EU is interested in expanding its cooperation with Azerbaijan.

“Azerbaijan has signed a bilateral strategic cooperation agreement with EU countries. I would also like to say that the EU and Azerbaijan have signed a strategic energy cooperation agreement, too. In this regard, we are waiting for Azerbaijan’s proposals of strategic cooperation. We must consider this proposal. The main thing is that both sides realize the need for expansion of bilateral cooperation. For example, we can expand our economic and trade relations. As you know, we have signed an agreement on visa facilitation and readmission. The number of mutual visits between Europe and Azerbaijan has increased”, the EU ambassador added.

Answering the question whether any document will be signed at Riga summit or not, Mard said: “As you know, a joint statement is signed at every EU summit. At present, works are underway in connection with the Riga summit. At the summit, it will be shown that there is a potential for working with the six Eastern Partnership states.”

The diplomat said she has no information on whether Azerbaijani and Armenian officials will meet at the summit.

“In this regard, you should better refer to the Azerbaijani side. However, the EU welcomes meetings between officials of Azerbaijan and Armenia,” she noted.

Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn emphasized the need to think about a new format of cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries, which are no longer willing to build tight relations with the European Union.

SOURCE: Azeri Press News Agency