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ES paragino signalas pasirengimą pasirašyti strateginės partnerystės susitarimo su Azerbaidžanu Rygoje

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IMG_7325ES buvo paraginta pasinaudoti šią savaitę įvykusiu Rytų partnerystės (Rytų partnerystės) viršūnių susitikimu, kad parodytų savo pasirengimą pasirašyti strateginės partnerystės susitarimą su Azerbaidžanu. Latvijos sostinėje Rygoje laukiamas aukščiausiojo lygio susitikimas tarp ES ir šešių Rytų partnerystės šalių partnerių. 

Atrinkti ES lyderiai ir atstovai iš Armėnijos, Azerbaidžano, Baltarusijos, Gruzijos, Moldovos ir Ukrainos, nepaisant padėties Ukrainoje ir didesnės įtampos su Rusija, stengsis išlaikyti impulsą stiprinti ryšius. Aukščiausiojo lygio susitikimas, kuris vyks gegužės 21 ir 22 d., vyksta praėjus 70 metų po Antrojo pasaulinio karo pabaigos.

Kalbėdamas ES Reporteris prieš labai lauktą susitikimą Azay Guliyev (nuotraukoje), Azerbaidžano aukšto rango parlamentaras sakė tikintis, kad ES parodys, kad yra pasirengusi sudaryti kelią strateginės partnerystės susitarimui su Azerbaidžanu pasirašyti. Parlamento narys taip pat nori matyti, kad ES yra suinteresuota plėsti bendradarbiavimą su Azerbaidžanu įvairiose srityse, įskaitant energetiką ir prekybą. 2006 m. buvo priimtas ES ir Azerbaidžano veiksmų planas, pagrįstas 1999 m. Partnerystės ir bendradarbiavimo susitarimu, o ES ir Azerbaidžanas pasirašė supratimo memorandumą energetikos srityje.

The two sides have also signed an agreement on visa facilitation and readmission. As a result, the number of mutual visits between Europe and Azerbaijan has increased. Guliyev, who chairs the Council of State Support to NGOs, said he does not expect a strategic partnership agreement to be signed in Riga but said: “Even so, the summit this week offers a timely opportunity for the EU to recognize and also appreciate the geo-political importance of Azerbaijan.”

“The main thing is that both sides realize the need for expansion of bilateral co-operation, including economic and trade relations,” added Guliyev.  “We very much value our relationship with the EU and it will be interesting to hear more about the EU proposals for a partnership agreement. Whatever they are they must meet the interests of Azerbaijan as well as the EU. We want to see evidence that the EU continues to seek closer economic and trade integration with Azerbaijan.”

The EU is Azerbaijan’s main trading partner, accounting for around 42.4% of Azerbaijan’s total trade. The bloc continues to be Azerbaijan’s biggest export and import market with respective 48.3% and 27.7% share in total Azerbaijan’s exports and imports. The Riga summit seeks to extend co-operation through EU programmes, such as Erasmus and Horizon 2020 while visa facilitation for EaP partners’ citizens, and energy, especially with the gas and oil producing Azerbaijan, will be an important part of the talks. The summit attendees are also expected to draft a resolution in support of the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine in light of its ongoing conflict with Russia-backed separatists and efforts for a peaceful settlement of unresolved conflicts in the region, including between Armenia and Azerbaijan, will be high on the summit’s agenda. On this, Guliyev, a twice-elected member of the Azerbaijan Parliament, where he has served since 2005, has a “clear cut” message for Brussels, saying: “It is time for an end to the double standards of the EU.”

“The EU constantly accuses Russia of violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine. It imposes sanctions on Moscow for alleged violations but, when it comes to Nagorno-Karabakh, the European Union makes no mention of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. All we hear is silence,” said Guliyev, who serves as the deputy chairman of the Committee for Social Issues, Education and Civil Society of the Euronest.

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He added: “This sort of double standards and this attitude has got to change.”It is not known if representatives from Azerbaijan and Armenia will meet in the Baltic city this week but Guliyev said: “I am hoping that at the Riga summit we will see the EU also uphold the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan as 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory is still under Armenian occupation for more than 25 years.

“If sanctions can be imposed on Russia for violations why not on Armenia for much the same thing? The Armenian aggression is unacceptable so if a resolution is adopted this week I hope that it also mentions Nagorno-Karabakh.” There are about 1.2 million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons within Azerbaijan, people who are unable to return to their homes and lands because of the illegal occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions by Armenia’s armed forces – in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions.

Guliyev, who is also vice-chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs and Security, said:  “Azerbaijan is an equal member of the Eastern Partnership with the EU and wants to continue cooperation with the bloc but for the Azerbaijani people I have to say that such a policy and such double standards are a big disappointment.”

Three countries so far have signed Association Agreements with the EU: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The summit will assess the progress made by these countries in reforming their economies and administration and will look at the possibilities of strengthening ties with the three others. The creation of a common European economic area will also be discussed with the EaP partners. Despite promises of more engagement from the EU, the first drafts of the final declaration of the summit indicate that the EU is tempted to step back from previous declarations on enlargement perspectives or even “incentive-based approach”.

Europos kaimynystės politikos ir plėtros derybų komisaras Johannesas Hahnas pabrėžė, kad reikia galvoti apie naują bendradarbiavimo formatą su Rytų partnerystės šalimis, kurios nebenori kurti glaudžių santykių su ES.

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