Van Rompuy: “Azerbaijan is a very important partner for the EU”

A meeting took place on 21 June 2013 in Brussels between Herman Van Rompuy, President, European Council, and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan. Mr Van Rompuy shared his “satisfaction” with the progress achieved on constructing the Southern Gas Corridor, which will bring Caspian and Central Asian resources direct to Europe, ensuring energy security for the future.

He went on to reconfirm that “Azerbaijan is a very important partner for the EU – we have achieved a great deal working together in the energy field, but we can do even more.” He went on to express “the need for a contractual relationship, based on an Association Agreement” so that “our relationship can achieve its full potential.”

Mr Van Rompuy also touched on the unresolved conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, saying that: “The EU considers that stability in the Southern Caucasus cannot be achieved without a fair resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.” He went on to express his support for the OSCE Minsk Group, which has been tasked with establishing a negotiated resolution to this conflict. Mr Van Rompuy also reiterated the willingness of the EU to “expand existing measures aimed at bridging the increasing divide between the conflict parties.”

Following the meeting, President Aliyev went on to meet José Manuel Barroso, President, European Commission, who stressed the “crucial” need for World Trade Organisation accession and concluded: “2013 is indeed a year of great opportunity for EU–Azerbaijan relations. I stand for broader and deeper relations with your nation, a country which we very much respect, with energy as an excellent starting point and with shared values at the core.”