The EU’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, Toivo Klaar, was in Baku earlier today (21 February), to meet with the Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev.
According to the Azerbaijani readout, Aliyev hailed the development of relations between Azerbaijan and the EU. In particular, he noted the constructive dialogue between the two sides, praising the European Council President, Charles Michel, on his contribution to Azerbaijan-EU relations, and on the normalisation of Armenian-Azerbaijani ties.
Klaar also commented on positive developments in the relations between the bloc and Azerbaijan, adding that fruitful discussions had been had during the recent visit of two EU Commissioners to Azerbaijan for a meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council. Additionally, he said that Michel strongly supported the full normalisation of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as EU-Azerbaijan relations, expressing hope that a new cooperation agreement could be completed soon. This sentiment was echoed by Aliyev, who said that the relevant agencies had been instructed to conduct negotiations on an agreement with the EU as soon as possible
Discussing economic matters, Aliyev said that the EU’s allocation of a 2 billion euro concessional credit line to Azerbaijan was an indicator of the positive development of the relations between the two sides.
The Azerbaijani president also stressed the importance of the EU’s role in the peace-building process. In particular, he highlighted the impact of the meeting held in Brussels last December, which saw Aliyev and Pashinyan meet with Michel, and resulted in an agreement to unblock railway communications. Moreover, the head of state praised the EU for its support to Azerbaijan in the demining process. The sides also touched upon the issue of missing people, of which Azerbaijan claims to have more than 4,000, with Aliyev stating that it was important for Armenia to approach this issue in a “constructive manner”.
Finally, the sides exchanged views on the restoration of communications, the delimitation of borders and other key issues on the Armenia-Azerbaijan agenda.