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Respect for fundamental freedoms, human rights and the rule of law is in Azerbaijan’s self-interest

Jose-300x210(Interview of the  President of the  European  Comission, Jose Manuel  Durao Barroso with TURAN)

Question: The issue of energy security of Europe is one of most important priorities in the light of situation in Ukraine.  After decisions on TANAP and TAP pipelines the question of Transcaspian pipeline is on agenda. How do you estimate position of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in this case and possibility of realisation of this project?

Answer: The construction of a Trans-Caspian Pipeline (TCP) is seen by the EU as a mutually beneficial project that serves the strategic and commercial interests of all partners. During our trilateral meetings we see strong commitment from both the Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan side to move forward with the realisation of this project. We are still in the planning phase and we hope that the laying of the Southern Gas Corridor will contribute to accelerating the discussions for the TCP as well. The EU is interested to receiving the additional volumes that a TCP could bring – and its positive impact on the security of supply to Europe and will continue to work constructively to make this happen.

Question: What are your estimations of situation with democracy in Azerbaijan in the light of serious pressure and harassment of civil society and political activists? What EU is doing in order to release political prisoners in Azerbaijan?

Answer: The EU has repeatedly voiced its readiness to support Azerbaijan in the process of developing and deepening democracy, good governance and rule of law and underlined this commitment with concrete actions in the form of technical and financial assistance, both to state structures and civil society. Today, the EU is the biggest donor in this area in Azerbaijan and we are committed to continue this engagement. We regularly discuss with our Azerbaijani counterparts developments in the field of democracy, human rights and rule of law in various political formats including at the highest level. I can tell you that we have frank and open exchanges with President Aliyev on all these matters. We are confident that the Azerbaijani authorities will take these concerns seriously because the respect for fundamental freedoms, human rights and the rule of law is also in Azerbaijan’s self-interest.

Question: After crisis in Ukraine some people in Moscow said that it is result of realisation of Eastern Partnership Project which is in fact anti-Russian one. What EU can do in order to protect EP members states?

Answer: The Eastern Partnership (EaP) was not developed against somebody in the logic of a zero sum game where the benefit of one partner is the loss of another. On the contrary, the EaP is designed in a way to create win-win situations not only for our partners directly involved but also their neighbours and the entire region. It is important to be clear about this. What we proposed to our partners was political association and economic integration with the European Union based on the principles of democracy, good governance, rule of law and open economies. This is what we do with most of our partners around the world. I would like to be explained why this agenda would be anti-someone? We have made this very clear from the very beginning and have been prepared to discuss related issues with all countries and partners concerned in a positive and constructive atmosphere. Unfortunately, some countries did not want to see it in this manner and have shown ambitions of their own that go beyond the principles of good neighbourhood and international law. The security effect of the EaP consists in making our partners stronger through political and economic reforms to enable them to promote their own interests more effectively and to give them access to forms of cooperation with the European Union that have proven to be key to peace, stability and prosperity.

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This entry was posted on 13.06.2014 by .

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