EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council — Eleventh meeting

The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil between the Euro­pean Union (EU) and the Repub­lic of Azer­bai­jan held its eleventh meet­ing on Tues­day, 7 Decem­ber 2010. The EU was rep­re­sent­ed by Mr Zsolt Németh, Min­is­ter of State for For­eign Affairs of Hun­gary (Chair of the Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil meet­ing) and Mr Šte­fan Füle, Com­mis­sion­er for Enlarge­ment and Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy. The Azer­bai­jani del­e­ga­tion was led by Mr Mah­mud Mam­mad-Guliyev, Deputy Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs of the Repub­lic of Azer­bai­jan. The EU Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the South Cau­ca­sus, Ambas­sador Peter Sem­ne­by, also took part in the meet­ing.

The par­ties dis­cussed the imple­men­ta­tion of the EU-Azer­bai­jan Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy Action Plan and issues relat­ed to enhanc­ing EU-Azer­bai­jan rela­tions, includ­ing the ongo­ing nego­ti­a­tions of a new EU-Azer­bai­jan Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with­in the frame­work of the East­ern Part­ner­ship. The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil under­lined the need to remain focussed on and speed up imple­men­ta­tion of the ENP Action Plan, includ­ing WTO acces­sion, also in view of the Progress Report to be pub­lished in spring 2011. The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil pro­vid­ed a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to take stock of lat­est devel­op­ments in the South Cau­ca­sus, as well as to review recent polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic reforms in Azerbaijan.

The EU recalled the impor­tance of con­tin­u­ing progress in democ­ra­cy, rule of law and human rights, in view of the deep­en­ing of bilat­er­al rela­tions between the EU and Azer­bai­jan in the frame­work of the East­ern Part­ner­ship and encour­aged Azer­bai­jan to step up reforms in these fields. The EU reaf­firmed its readi­ness to con­tin­ue its sup­port for the fur­ther devel­op­ment of demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions in Azer­bai­jan, includ­ing in the frame­work of the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy and the East­ern Part­ner­ship. The EU wel­comed the con­ven­ing of the first meet­ing of the EU-Azer­bai­jan Sub­com­mit­tee on Jus­tice, Free­dom, Secu­ri­ty and Human Rights and Democ­ra­cy, under­lin­ing that fun­da­men­tal free­doms, as well as free­dom of expres­sion and free­dom of the media, are essen­tial ele­ments in the bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship, includ­ing in the bilat­er­al dia­logue with Azer­bai­jan. The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil dis­cussed EU-Azer­bai­jan coop­er­a­tion in the ener­gy sec­tor and agreed on the need to fur­ther imple­ment the EU-Azer­bai­jan Mem­o­ran­dum of Under­stand­ing on ener­gy signed in Novem­ber 2006. The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil also dis­cussed sev­er­al projects in this field and under­lined the impor­tance of the next months for the devel­op­ment and effec­tive start of Nabuc­co and ITGI.

The Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil also explored the state of play con­cern­ing the Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict. The EU expressed appre­ci­a­tion for the ongo­ing dia­logue between Arme­nia and Azer­bai­jan and wel­comed the recent state­ment by the Heads of Del­e­ga­tion of the OSCE Min­sk Group Co-Chair Coun­tries and the Pres­i­dents of Azer­bai­jan and Arme­nia at the OSCE Sum­mit in Astana. The EU expressed its sup­port to the efforts car­ried out by the Min­sk Group and informed about EU sup­port to con­fi­dence build­ing mea­sures to facil­i­tate the process of resolv­ing the conflict.

The meet­ing of the Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil was pre­ced­ed by a joint min­is­te­r­i­al work­ing lunch between the EU and Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan and Geor­gia to dis­cuss the East­ern Part­ner­ship and prospects for deep­er coop­er­a­tion between the EU and the three South Cau­ca­sus coun­tries, as well as con­flict resolution. 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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