Donald Tusk Raised Human Rights Issues at Meeting with Ilham Aliyev

The European Union supports the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and considers it as its important partner. This was stated by the European Council President Donald Tusk on 6 February in Brussels after talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

“We are based on a reliable and strategic partnership and we want to further expand cooperation. Azerbaijan is of great importance for the energy security and diversification of Europe's energy supply. We have a common commitment to the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor,” Tusk said before the press.

EU is the main trading partner of Azerbaijan and one of the major investors in it.

“We discussed how we can assist in the modernization and diversification of Azerbaijan's economy,” Tusk continued.

According to him, progress in the negotiations on Azerbaijan's WTO accession would pave the way for a competitive business and, accordingly, would allow progress in economic integration.

“During the talks, I underlined the importance attached by us to human rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression. The EU believes this is the best guarantee for long-term stability in open societies. We sincerely wish to work as partners in these matters,” Tusk said.

He also noted Azerbaijan's role as a bridge in intercultural dialogue.

During the meeting they also discussed issues of peaceful settlement of the NK conflict. Tusk noted the instability of the status quo. He said there is no military solution to the conflict, and the problem should be resolved at a political level, on the basis of international law. The EU fully supports the mediation efforts and proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Tusk also welcomed the negotiations starting on February 7 between Azerbaijan and the EU on a new partnership agreement that will increase the scale of their cooperation.   -06D-

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