The summit dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the European Union’s "Eastern Partnership" program and attended by heads of state and government was held in Prague on 24 April.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan dedicated his entire speech at the summit’s plenary session to theories associated with the so-called “Armenian genocide”. Taking advantage of the absence of Turkey from the summit, the Armenian president went completely beyond the subject of the summit’s plenary session, raised the issue of the fictitious “genocide” and chose Turkey as the object of a scathing attack. On the one hand, Serzh Sargsyan accused Turkey of not taking a constructive position with regard to the so-called “genocide” issue and, on the other, of not opening the border with Armenia, adding that this country’s membership in the European Union was unacceptable. In his speech, the Armenian president attempted to convince the audience that the European public should take a more assertive position on the issue of the trumped-up “genocide”.
Addressing the plenary session, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, I would like to thank President Zeman for the invitation, for the organization of this important event and for the hospitality. I am very pleased to come to beautiful Prague again and to continue our dialogue. I would like to note that we regard the last five years as a very significant period from the point of view of the establishment of a closer relationship with European institutions. In the past five years our country has conducted reforms in political, economic and other spheres. Our relations with member-states of the European Union have been very broad and constructive. The essence of these relations, of course, has changed for the better.
We attach great importance to economic reforms and consider our cooperation with the European Union very important from this standpoint. Democratic development, protection of human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms are our top priorities. We are modernizing our country. The modern economic system should be complemented by a modern political system. From this standpoint, the European Union is a great example.
We have done a lot in the economic sphere. I can tell you that largely thanks to the economic reforms Azerbaijan has been the fastest growing economy of the world in the past 10 years. It has grown more than three times. We have managed to get rid of poverty and unemployment. Poverty is at 5 per cent in Azerbaijan. Our external debt accounts for only 8 per cent of the gross domestic product.
According to the Davos World Economic Forum, the Azerbaijani economy is ranked 39th in the world for competitiveness. Our cooperation with European institutions is broad. It covers political, economic and trade issues, political reforms and, of course, the issue of energy security. 2011 was a very significant year from this point of view. In 2011, President Barroso and I signed a memorandum on strategic energy partnership in Baku, which paved the way for close cooperation. We have achieved a great success over this short period of time. In particular, a month after the Vilnius summit, we signed Europe’s biggest infrastructure project worth $45 billion, which is regarded as the agreement of the 21st century. Most of the investment will be made by Azerbaijan and other partners. The development of the gigantic gas field of Shah Deniz and the construction of Trans-Anatolian and Trans-Adriatic gas pipelines will redraw the European energy map. Thus, Europe will obtain a new source of gas supplies in the next four to five years. I believe that this strong partnership between Europe and Azerbaijan should be continued, so that we could implement important and mutually beneficial projects.
Unfortunately, the Armenian President has taken advantage of the opportunity to launch another attack on Turkey. It is easy to do so because there are no Turkish representatives around this table. But I am here and I can tell you why the Turkish-Armenian border remains closed. The Turkish border with Armenia was closed after the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar District in April 1993. Prior to that, all the Azerbaijanis were driven out of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijanis accounted for 30 per cent of the Karabakh population. Before Kalbajar, the Armenians occupied Shusha and Lachin. Then they occupied Agdam, Fizuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, Jabrayil, which are outside the administrative borders of Nagorno-Karabakh – a total of seven Azerbaijani districts which constitute 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory. Our population has been exposed to ethnic cleansing.
The occupation continues to this day despite four resolutions of the UN Security Council, resolutions of the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Armenia flouts these resolutions and continues the occupation of a territory that does not belong to it both from a historical perspective and from the standpoint of international law.
At the same time, they carry on accusing Azerbaijan of taking an unconstructive position. Our lands are under occupation. The principles of territorial integrity and self-determination are explicitly reflected in the Helsinki Final Act. The right to self-determination cannot be achieved at the expense of the territorial integrity of a country. In addition, the Armenians have already completed the process of self-determination, as there is an independent Armenian state. Just imagine what may happen if the Armenians continue pursuing self-determination wherever they live. They may display the same approach here in the Czech Republic, in Georgia, in Russia, in America and wherever they live. But they already have a state of their own and have already completed the process of self-determination.
Azerbaijan is interested in the speediest settlement of the conflict. I am sure that so are the Armenian people. This is also in the interests of cooperation in the South Caucasus.
As far as Turkish-Armenian relations are concerned, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a statement several years ago, suggesting that the Armenian leadership open all the archives and historians review the historical aspects of the relations between the two nations again. However, this suggestion was not properly received. Yesterday, Prime Minister Erdogan extended his condolences to people of Armenian origin, but unfortunately the Armenian side did not issue a relevant reaction to that either. Although, as I know, the United States and the European Union have praised the position of the Turkish Prime Minister, it appears that this is not enough for the Armenian government. This clearly shows who it is that doesn’t want peace in the region.
We want peace. We want our lands to be returned. Armenia must start withdrawing its troops from Azerbaijan’s occupied lands. It is very easy to do that. It only requires political will from the Armenian side.
And finally, the last issue. The Azerbaijani people are asking one question: why isn’t Armenia faced with sanctions? Why isn’t the Armenian delegation deprived of the right to vote and to address the Council of Europe? They have occupied the territory of another country and are flagrantly violating the rules of international law and four relations of the UN Security Council, but are not faced with any sanctions and punishment. The fictitious representatives of the illegal and criminal regime in Nagorno-Karabakh receive visas to European capitals. This is unacceptable and must be stopped.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today met President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman in Prague.
During the meeting, the presidents said they were satisfied with the development of bilateral relations between the two countries.
The sides said fruitful discussions were conducted at the Summit of the EU Eastern Partnership programme in Prague.
The presidents exchanged views over the expansion of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic in various areas, particularly investment making, infrastructure projects, education and transportation.
The sides stressed the importance of strengthening the work of Azerbaijan-Czech Republic joint intergovernmental commission and expanding the activities of Czech companies in Azerbaijan.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili in Prague.
During the meeting, the presidents said they were satisfied with the development of bilateral relations between the two countries, and noted that high level regional cooperation contributed to these bonds.
The sides said cooperation in the field of energy was successful.
The parties noted that there was good potential for expanding relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia in tourism, cultural, educational, sports and other fields.
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili invited President Ilham Aliyev to visit his country.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski have had a meeting in Prague.
The presidents noted that bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Poland were at a high level, and stressed the importance of expanding these ties.
The parties exchanged views on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The sides discussed prospects for cooperation between the European Union and Azerbaijan.
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski invited President Ilham Aliyev to visit his country.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met President of the Republic of Moldova Nicolae Timofti in Prague.
During the meeting, the presidents expressed satisfaction with the level of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Moldova.
The parties stressed the importance of expanding cooperation between the two countries even further, and noted the significance of developing ties in economic and other fields.
During the conversation, the sides exchanged views over the expansion of cooperation between the European Union and the two countries, and other issues of mutual interest.
The Summit of the EU Eastern Partnership programme has started in Prague, the Czech Republic.
This Summit was dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit held in 2009.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the Summit.
The Summit started with an official welcome of heads of state and government at Prague Castle.
A guard of honor was lined up for the heads of state and government at the square, which was decorated with the national flags of the participating countries.
President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman welcomed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
The national anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan was played.
The heads of state and government had their photos taken together.
Then the first meeting of the Summit has been held.
President Ilham Aliyev addressed the meeting.
Opening the Summit, President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman welcomed the heads of state and government of the participating countries.
He noted that the Eastern Partnership programme had passed the great development way in the last five years.
Highlighting the future tasks, the Czech President expressed confidence that the cooperation would be continued in bilateral and multilateral formats.
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle congratulated the event participants on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership Summit.
Then the discussions started.
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is an initiative of the European Union governing its relationship with the states of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Armenia intended to provide a venue for discussions of trade, economic strategy, travel agreements, and other issues between the EU and its eastern neighbors. The project was initiated by Poland and a subsequent proposal was prepared in co-operation with Sweden.
It was presented by the foreign minister of Poland and Sweden at the EU's General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 26 May 2008.
The Eastern Partnership was inaugurated by the European Union in Prague in May, 2009.
The second Summit was held in Warsaw in September, 2011, while the third Summit in Vilnius in November, 2013.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic and head of the Czech Republic-Azerbaijan interparliamentary friendship group Jan Hamacek.
During the meeting, the sides expressed satisfaction with the development of bilateral relations between the two countries.
The parties noted that the expansion of the interparliamentary ties contributed to developing the Azerbaijan-Czech Republic cooperation.
During the conversation, the sides exchanged views over cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has arrived in the Czech Republic for a working visit.
A guard of honor was lined up for the head of state at the Prague Airport, which was decorated with the national flags of the two countries.
President Ilham Aliyev met with Chairman of Chamber of Deputies of Czech Republic, head of Czech Republic-Azerbaijan interparliamentary friendship group Jan Hamacek
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Czech Republic for working visit