"First of all, I express my gratitude for the organization of today's meeting at the ministerial level.
This meeting is a useful opportunity for an open and honest exchange of views on the current situation and future activities of the Eastern Partnership."
APA reports that Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said this at the meeting of the European Union Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers.
According to the Minister, the Eastern Partnership is based on the common ownership and responsibility of all participating parties: "This fact should guide our work on the further development of the mentioned initiative.
Azerbaijan continues to see the Eastern Partnership as an important supporting mechanism for the development of bilateral relations between the European Union (EU) and Azerbaijan based on mutual respect, equal partnership, common interests and benefits.
The EU is our largest trade and investment partner.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the EU and Azerbaijan in July 2022 is important in terms of the transportation of natural gas under stable and favorable conditions, as well as the potential export of "green energy" to Europe.
We are also working with our partners on the export of "green energy" from Azerbaijan to Europe, and we expect a noticeable step in the coming days."
Jeyhun Bayramov noted that Azerbaijan and the EU are also working on the implementation of the EU's Economic and Investment Plan in Azerbaijan, which is a good example of project-oriented cooperation: "The first meeting of the high-level joint working group was held in Baku last week.
Negotiations on a new bilateral agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan continue, and the next round of negotiations between the delegations will be held today.
In the context of transport and communication links in the region, I would like to note the wide economic and investment opportunities of the Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor and the fact that transit flows through Azerbaijan will increase by 70% in 2022.
The transport junction formed in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan, including the Zangezur corridor, will play a positive role in ensuring regional peace and stability, and will contribute to the development of trade in the region.
The minister pointed out that Azerbaijan has started large-scale works on restoration, reconstruction and reintegration in the post-conflict period, and emphasized that in 2023 it is planned to allocate 1.8 billion dollars from the state budget for these purposes. The first residents returned to the newly built Agalı village as a practical start of the "Great Return" program.
Azerbaijan also intends to reintegrate citizens of Armenian origin living in the territories freed from occupation during the post-conflict period into our society by guaranteeing that they have the same rights and freedoms as all Azerbaijani citizens.
In this regard, the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan provides an important legal basis.
The expansion of dialogue and contacts between the government of Azerbaijan and local ethnic Armenian residents is aimed at ensuring peaceful coexistence, the process needs to be encouraged and supported.
Massive contamination of Azerbaijani territories with mines and other explosives is the main threat to post-conflict work.
Azerbaijan highly appreciates EU's humanitarian aid in the field of demining.
However, given the scale and seriousness of the problem, international solidarity and support is essential in combating it.
Since the signing of the Tripartite Declaration dated November 10, 2020, 268 Azerbaijanis have been victims of mine explosions, 45 of them died and 223 were injured.
9 of mine victims are children and young people, 1 is a woman, 3 are media representatives.
Ignoring the increasing loss of life on a daily basis, Armenia refuses to share complete and accurate information about mined areas.
Also, Armenia is massively placing new mines in the territories of Azerbaijan.
Since August of this year, 2,728 anti-personnel mines produced in Armenia in 2021 have been discovered in the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan.
The area where the recently placed Armenian-made mines were placed has already been inspected by the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the management of the Russian-Turkish Joint Monitoring Center, as well as military attachés of accredited embassies in Azerbaijan.
The continued deployment of landmines, a threat to peacebuilding and considered a war crime, is undermining efforts towards reconciliation after 30 years of conflict.
"Bringing mines to the territory of Azerbaijan is a misuse of the Lachin corridor, which is intended only for humanitarian purposes."
Jeyhun Bayramov noted that despite the devastating consequences and wounds of the war and occupation, Azerbaijan offered Armenia a peace based on the mutual recognition and respect of each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity within the borders of the two states: gave impetus to the process.
In this regard, the tripartite meetings held in Brussels were fruitful.
Azerbaijan continues to support this format and is ready for mutual action in this direction.
Impartiality and neutrality, strict respect for international law and the consent of the parties are the basis of any mediation or assistance initiative and these principles must be observed in all cases.
Bilateral negotiations on the text of the peace agreement to be signed as one of the important results of the Brussels meeting held on August 31 began.
On November 7, after a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia in Washington, Azerbaijan presented the revised proposals to Armenia.
The next round of negotiations is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
In this regard, Azerbaijan's approach is clear and consistent and is based on international law.
The peace agreement to be signed will ensure the rights of Azerbaijan and Armenia as two equal sovereign states and will create a basis for solving all issues of common interest or concern related to interstate relations.
Despite increased dynamism in bilateral negotiations, the progress achieved remains rather limited as Armenia continues its past imitation practice.
Armenia continues to fail to fulfill its obligations regarding all three main directions of interstate normalization, i.e. signing a peace treaty, delimiting borders and opening regional communications.
Armenia still has not completely withdrawn its illegal armed groups from the territories of Azerbaijan.
In the same way, Armenia is artificially delaying the restoration of communication links, including refusing to ensure unhindered communication between Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Instead, after a provocation along the delimited state border in mid-September, Armenia launched a smear campaign against Azerbaijan to undermine its normalization agenda.
The role of certain third parties in promoting Armenia's revanchist behavior is also of serious concern, as it prompts Armenia to intensify military provocations and bellicose rhetoric."
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also emphasized that the complex times we are living in make it necessary for the Eastern Partnership to adapt its activities to the needs and interests of the partner states.
He said that he hoped that the approach of the EU to the South Caucasus would be adapted to the new situation, taking into account the needs and priorities arising in the region.