Donald Tusk's visit is very important for EU-Azerbaijan relations, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at joint press conference with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. In his speech, President Aliyev noted the development of relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union.
"For many years our countries have formed a productive relationship. We exchanged views with Donald Tusk. There is positive progress. The meeting focused on regional issues, including the Nagorno-Karabakh problem and the ways of its settlement. I've informed Donald Tusk about the current situation at the negotiating table and the history of the conflict. This conflict has been lasting for more than two decades, and internationally recognized parts of Azerbaijan are under Armenian occupation. The United Nations adopted four resolutions, demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian troops from our territories, but they are not implemented. We have more than one million refugees and internally displaced persons. Our people suffered ethnic cleansing. We want to resolve the conflict within the framework of international norms and principles. We hope that the international community will put more pressure on the aggressor, to start the de-occupation of Azerbaijani lands," the President of Azerbaijan said.
The President of the European Council, in his turn, said that "the EU supports the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Azerbaijan". "We hope that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be solved soon. We want to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by peaceful means. The conflict should be our priority. We support the Minsk process within the OSCE," Tusk said.
"Azerbaijan is the EU’s reliable and strategic partner, and we want to take this partnership further. The strategic cooperation agreement plays an important role in this regard," the President of the European Council said.
Donald Tusk also said that he discussed with the President of Azerbaijan the issue of simplifying the visa regime by the end of this year, the negotiations in this regard will be completed. "We want Azerbaijan to enter the Schengen area and make available visits of peoples from one country to another. We agreed that if the visa regime is facilitated, the process of issuing Schengen visas for regular entry-exit will be simplified," Tusk stressed.
A political scientist, an MP of the Azerbaijani Mejlis, Rasim Musabekov, told Vestnik Kavkaza that he is skeptical about Donald Tusk's claims on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. "Unfortunately, real interest of the EU is not noticeable, and announcements are mainly limited to the EU's willingness to support the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group and to contribute specific funds for the rehabilitation of war-torn areas in the case of progress in resolving the conflict," Musabekov said.
He noted that, with despite the differences in policy, Azerbaijan and the EU are beneficial economic partners for each other. "Baku is a very important regional partner for Brussels, which is realizing significant energy projects for the EU. We may have differences on some political and ideological issues, but in terms of mutual benefits we have points of intersection, where the relationships between Azerbaijan and the EU will be developed. It is a pity that Brussels stays away from political trends and problems that really worry Baku, such as the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and security in the region," the politician stressed.
Professor of the Western University, political scientist Fikret Sadykhov, said that "there have been many statements by the heads of various states on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for more than 20 years, they all talked about supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan". "However, we have no results yet. Because this is the first visit of the chairman of the Council of Europe to Azerbaijan, he provides discussion on the most important, topical issues of regional and bilateral issues. Tusk just confirmed that the EU is ready to support and do everything necessary to resolve this issue," he said.
"Azerbaijan has always supported such initiatives. It is important to have an impact on Armenia, because seven regions of Azerbaijan have been occupied in addition to Nagorno-Karabakh. This could lead to a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Fikret Sadikhov noted.
Also, the political scientist reminded that relations between Azerbaijan and Europe have sharpened. "Solutions offensive to Azerbaijan have been adopted by the EU, they started to dictate how to behave in the region, what steps to take in political life. I think Tusk tried to smooth the negative effect, because Europe is interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan," the Professor of the Western University summed up.