He made the remarks at a press conference following the meeting of the Azerbaijan-EU Cooperation Council in Brussels.
“If we start on time, we can really finish and conclude the negotiations and this would be agreed ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership in mid-May,” he said.
“I think it is important to have this agreement,” he noted.
The EU and Azerbaijan are close partners in many areas, he added.
“The EU remains the largest trade and investment partner of Azerbaijan,” he said. “In our partnership priories we look to strengthen our economic ties, including through sustainable diversification of Azerbaijan’s economy, support of its membership for the WTO and improving the business and investment environment in general.”
“We have a strategic partnership in the field of energy, which can be illustrated by our cooperation on the Southern Gas Corridor,” he noted.
“We are interested in providing support to Baku Port and its free trade zone,” he added. “We hope we will soon finalize negotiations on common aviation agreement.”
The European Council adopted a mandate for the European Commission and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan in November 2016.
The new agreement should replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement and should better take account of the shared objectives and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today.
The agreement will follow the principles endorsed in the 2015 review of the European Neighborhood Policy and offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.
Currently, bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation that was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999.
The new agreement envisages the compliance of Azerbaijan’s legislation and procedures with the EU’s most important international trade norms and standards, which should lead to the improvement of Azerbaijani goods’ access to the EU markets.
Creation of a common aviation area is an initiative of the European Commission and aims to open and integrate aviation markets. This will lead to new opportunities for consumers and operators, and, most importantly, to high standards in terms of flight safety as well as air traffic management.
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