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2013.12.10 11:11

Linkevičius underscored the importance of active EU relations with Azerbaijan

DELFI|The Lithuania Tribune2013.12.10 11:11

European Union is committed to achieve further progress in negotiations for a Strategic Modernisation Partnership and an Association Agreement with Azerbaijan and increase the pace of negotiations, said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius.

 European Union is committed to achieve further progress in negotiations for a Strategic Modernisation Partnership and an Association Agreement with Azerbaijan and increase the pace of negotiations, said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius.

Linkevičius, on behalf of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, took part in the meeting of the EU–Azerbaijan Cooperation Council on 9 December 2013 in Brussels alongside the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.

The Lithuanian Minister stressed that the Eastern Partnership, including its bilateral track, is based on mutual values and commitments to the rule of law, democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and encouraged Azerbaijan to continue the implementation of its international obligations and commitments.

“The level of ambition of the EU relationship with its partners will take into account the extent to which these values are reflected in the national practices and policy implementation. Sufficient progress in democracy, the rule of law and human rights, will have great importance in considerations for the deepening of the bilateral relations between the EU and its partners in the framework of the Eastern Partnership,” said Minister Linkevičius.

The minister stressed the importance of further development of the multilateral track of the Eastern Partnership and welcomed the participation of the Azerbaijani representatives at the multilateral events of the Eastern Partnership, notably, in the Justice and Home Affairs and Transport Ministerial meetings.

Energy co-operation was also discussed. Minister Linkevičius said that the EU expects the final investment decision of the consortium for the Shah Deniz II gas field and to finalize, alongside Turkmenistan the trilateral agreement on the Trans-Caspian Pipeline and to swiftly expand the Southern Gas Corridor beyond those volumes already committed by Azerbaijan.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Minister reiterated the EU support for the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and welcomed the recent meeting of the Presidents and the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and their agreement to further advance negotiations.

“Only peace can help unleash the full potential of the South Caucasus region as a gateway between Europe and Asia,” said Minister Linkevičius.

Minister welcomed the signature of the visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan in Vilnius on 29 November 2013 and the Mobility partnership on December 5 stressing that it will contribute to promoting people-to-people contacts.

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