BAKU: EU wants to play positive role in settlement of NK conflict

AzerTag, Azerbaijan
March 22 2004


[March 22, 2004, 22:18:57]

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received a
delegation led by European Union’s Special Representative for the
Southern Caucasus Heiki Talvitie at the Presidential Place, March 22.

Welcoming the guests sincerely, Head of State Ilham Aliyev expressed
satisfaction with deepening the cooperation between the European
Union and Azerbaijan. He pointed out that the policy of integration
into the European structures is a strategic choice of Azerbaijan, and
the country would be dedicated to this policy in future. `The joint
programs the European Union and Azerbaijan have been implementing for
the last years, and those to be realized in the future let us say
that we will be closer to each other’ the President said.

President Ilham Aliyev touched upon his meetings during the recent
conference in Bratislava describing that with European Union’s
Commissioner Gunter Verheugen as positive.

The Head of State noted he was pleased with the fact that the
European Union lately attached special attention to settlement of the
Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He described the
initial steps taken as promising. `We welcome these steps, and we
would like the European Union to be more actively engaged in this

Pointing out the unwillingness of the Armenian Armed forces to
release the occupied territories, President Ilham Aliyev said
Azerbaijan’s position was that the conflict could be settled only on
the base of the international legal norms, and expressed hope that
the international community would approach the issue exactly from
this standpoint.

President Ilham Aliyev also pointed out other important issues of
mutual interest: `I think the beginning of the dialogue on energy
sphere is very important fact, and we are ready for that,’ he said.
Mr. Ilham Aliyev especially emphasized that in a few years Azerbaijan
would turn into very important country for European consumers.

Turning back to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over
Nagorno-Karabakh, the Head of State mentioned that it threatened
stability in the region and impeded regional cooperation and
integration of the Southern Caucasus countries into the European
family. `I hope the international community will express its fair
stance in relation to this issue, and the problem will be finally
solved,’ President Ilham Aliyev concluded.

Having thanked the President of Azerbaijan for the sincere meeting,
Mr. Heiki Talvitie let him know that he had visited the grave of
nationwide leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev. `His bright memory
will live in our hearts forever,’ he said.

The EU’s Special Representative noted that the President Ilham
Aliyev’s Program of Social and Economic Development of the country
had aroused keen interest in Europe.

Touching upon Azerbaijan-European Union relationship, the guest
pointed out the significance of President Ilham Aliyev’s meeting with
EU Commissioner in Bratislava.

Speaking of settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over
Nagorno-Karabakh, Mr. Heiki Talvitie said that his mandate included
rendering assistance to Azerbaijan, Armenia, and the Minsk group, and
that he would be actively involved in the process. `I believe the
European Union is able to play its positive role in the problem’s
resolution,’ he stressed.


Present at the meeting were Head of Azerbaijan delegation to the
European Union, Ambassador Arif Mamadov, Ambassador of Germany in
Baku Klaus Grevlich and other officials.