The European Union (EU) hopes to conclude the negotiations on visa regime facilitation and readmission with Azerbaijan this November, head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Roland Kobia told media on Wednesday.
"We hope to complete the negotiations before the summit, which will take place in November with the participation of the head of states within the EU Eastern Partnership program," Kobia said.
According to Kobia, now the parties have accelerated the discussions. The next round of negotiations on visa regime facilitation between Azerbaijan and the European Union will be held in Brussels on March 11-12.
In February, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev also said that the negotiations expected to be concluded by late 2013.
Mammadguliyev said that the negotiations are progressing well, adding: "Several issues such as readmission and the facilitation of visa procedures must be addressed."
Azerbaijan and the EU launched official negotiations on visa facilitation in March 2012 in Baku.
An agreement on the simplification of visa entry for citizens of Azerbaijan provides for a reduction of the list of documents submitted along with the visa application and the possibility of issuing multiple entry visas with a longer validity period, thus reducing the cost of visas or even making them free for particular categories, and envisions time limits for processing an application.
The agreement on readmission will develop a mechanism for repatriation of those residing in the EU and Azerbaijan without permission.
The EU and Azerbaijan are maintaining relations under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which was signed in 1996 and came into force in 1999. In 2009, the EU passed a decision to sanction negotiations on the conclusion of bilateral association agreements of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia with the organization. These agreements will be a new practical instrument to replace the bilateral action plans.
Azerbaijan is also included in the EU's Eastern Partnership program, adopted at the initiative of Poland and Sweden and approved at the EU summit in Brussels in 2008. The Eastern Partnership is aimed at political and economic rapprochement of six post-Soviet states with the EU.