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2. The Minister of Foreign Affairs chaired
the 13th meeting of the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council – 17.12.2012
This meeting provided the opportunity for frank and open discussion. It took place at the end of a very intensive year for bilateral relations: during 2012, visits were made to Baku by the President of the European Council Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, the Commission Vice- President Mrs Neelie Kroes and Commissioners Mr Gunther Oettinger and Mr Stefan Fule.
The Cooperation Council reviewed progress on the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The EU reaffirmed that the status quo is unacceptable and that the solution of this conflict remains a top priority. Both sides reiterated their support to efforts deployed by the OSCE Minsk Group. The EU confirmed its complementary role in support of confidence building measures and also expressed concern on incidents at the frontlines. The EU urged the sides to maintain stability on the ground and to refrain from aggressive, belligerent statements and actions that would increase tension.
The Cooperation Council underlined the need to remain focused on and speed up implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan, including World Trade Organisation accession and provided a good opportunity to take stock of latest developments in the South Caucasus, as well as to review recent political and economic reforms in Azerbaijan.
In view of the deepening bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan in the framework of the Eastern Partnership, the EU encouraged Azerbaijan to step up reforms in these fields in particular with regards to the preparation and conduct of presidential elections scheduled in October 2013, which should take place in a fair and transparent way in line with international standards.
The EU reiterated that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Azerbaijan is an essential component in the bilateral relationship and in the framework of the Eastern Partnership and reaffirmed its readiness to continue its support for the further development of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan.
The two sides expressed satisfaction with the ongoing negotiations on the Association Agreement and underlined the need to accelerate their pace. The EU welcomed the start of negotiations for the signature of Visa Facilitation and Readmission agreements.
The Cooperation Council discussed EU-Azerbaijan cooperation in the energy sector and welcomed the ratification by the Azerbaijani Parliament of the bilateral agreements with Turkey on the construction and operation of the Trans - Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), as part of the Southern Energy Corridor.
he EU and Azerbaijan confirmed their commitment to the negotiations with Turkmenistan on the construction of the Trans - Caspian Pipeline and both sides confirmed the importance of the Southern Corridor and its contribution in reaching the common objective of energy security and the security of energy transportation from the Caspian Sea to the EU.
3. Cooperation Agreement signed between Cyprus Republic and International
Organisation for Migration
The promotion and signing of the Agreement falls within the framework of the Ministry of Interior’s efforts for a more effective handling of immigration, the maximization of its positive effects and the management of the problems that may arise.
4. Commerce Minister departed for Brussels
Specifically, Mr Sylikiotis will initially speak to the INTA on the progress achieved in the field of international trade and will then address the ITRE members on the achievements of the Cyprus Presidency regarding the issues of industry and energy.
The Minister of Commerce returns to Cyprus tonight.
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