“Azerbaijan is a reliable and predictable partner of European Union. As you know, positive dynamics has always dominated our bilateral cooperation. Having this in mid, the new agreement will further enhance our mutually beneficial relationship and touch upon all the issues of interest for both sides. Negotiations continue and we hope for its earliest conclusion,” he said.
“For this end, we also count on supportive actions from everyone who desire only the prosperity of EU-Azerbaijan relations and stand firm against all attempts to undermine our firm partnership.”
Isgandarov commented on the recommendations by the European Parliament (EP) to negotiators for the EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Agreement.
“Unfortunately it is not the first time that Press Service of EP in its press-release portrays mainly critical recommendations from adopted documents as preconditions for negotiations on new agreement. But document highlights Azerbaijan as an important partner and outlines broader avenues for future cooperation,” he said.
“Azerbaijan also has strong “red lines” on some issues of these negotiations with EU but never vocally highlighted them as preconditions. Our partners from EEAS are on the same position. Both sides understand mutual importance of negotiations on agreement, in which EU has as minimum no less interest than Azerbaijan.”
“Any attempt to blackmail each other or undermine negotiations will not succeed. We believe constructive spirit of negotiations will deliver fruitful results for all generations of citizens of both sides,” added Iskandarov.
In November 2016, the EU Council issued a mandate to 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.
The new agreement should replace the partnership and cooperation agreement of 1996, which would make it possible to take greater account of the common goals and challenges facing the EU and Azerbaijan today.
The agreement will comply with the principles approved in 2015 in the document of the European Neighborhood Policy and will offer an updated basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.
At present, bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of the partnership and cooperation agreement, which was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999.
The new agreement provides for the approximation of Azerbaijan's legislation and procedures to the most important international and trade norms and standards of the EU, which should lead to improved access of Azerbaijani products to the EU markets.