Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov had meetings with his counterparts on the fringes of the 29th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Poland to discuss prospects for cooperation on issues of mutual interest.
On December 1, Jeyhun Bayramov met with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
At the meeting, issues of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU in various spheres, further prospects for relations, as well as the implementation of the agreements reached in the energy sector were discussed. The two men also exchanged views on the efforts to advance the normalization process between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the EU’s role in this effect.
Bayramov blamed Armenia for creating obstacles to the peace process, violating obligations under the agreements the leaders have reached, and creating a false impression of the negotiation process. The minister once again drew attention to the existing mine danger in the territories liberated from occupation.
Josep Borrell, in his turn, underscored the strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and the EU in the energy sector and the great potential for development. He also stressed that the EU intends to continue to support efforts to normalize relations between the two countries.
On December 1, the Azerbaijani foreign minister also met with North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani to discuss cooperation between the two nations in various fields, opportunities for developing them, energy security, as well as plans and prospects for cooperation within the framework of the presidency of North Macedonia in the OSCE in 2023.
Bayramov provided his counterpart with detailed information about the current situation in the region, the peace agenda between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the process of normalization of relations and the work done by Azerbaijan in this area, as well as the provocations committed by Armenia, which damage the normalization.
Expressing his appreciation for the existing bilateral relations, Minister Osmani highly estimated Azerbaijan’s contribution to the energy security of Europe. Taking into account the difficulties arising within the OSCE, he shared his thoughts on strengthening the capacities of the organization.
On December 2, Jeyhun Bayramov met with his Lithuanian colleague Gabrielius Landsbergis. Topical issues of the current agenda of cooperation between the two countries and the situation in the region were discussed at the meeting. They noted that Azerbaijan and Lithuania are cooperating in political, economic, educational, humanitarian, and other fields. The importance of mutual visits and political dialogue for the development of relations was emphasized, as well as Azerbaijan’s ties with the EU and the work carried out within this framework were discussed.
Jeyhun Bayramov informed his colleague in detail about the new realities which have developed in the region after the 2020 Second Karabakh War, the restoration and construction work carried out in the Azerbaijani territories liberated from Armenian occupation at the post-conflict stage, the work to open communications in the region, and the steps taken by Azerbaijan to promote the peace agenda.
Landsbergis noted the potential for further development of relations between the two countries and stressed the importance of using this potential. The importance of energy security projects being implemented in the region was emphasized. The minister also noted that Lithuania supports the process of normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Another meeting on December 2 was held between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and his Greek opposite number Nikos Dendias, where the two men exchanged views on a variety of issues on the bilateral cooperation agenda, as well as reviewed relations in political, economic, trade, energy, humanitarian sectors, including cooperation within international organizations.
The officials emphasized the significance of the recent engagements between Azerbaijan and Greece, in particular, the meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the opening of the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) on October 1, 2022.
Minister Bayramov informed his colleague on the new regional realities after the 44-day Second Karabakh War, the normalization process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, reconstruction activities on the liberated lands, as well as the challenges posed by Armenia to the peace process.
The Azerbaijani top diplomat also had a meeting with OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid on the sidelines of the 29th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
They discussed various aspects of the Azerbaijani-OSCE cooperation agenda, current problems within the OSCE, as well as the recent developments in the South Caucasus. Bayramov updated Schmid on Azerbaijan’s peace efforts to normalize relations with Armenia, the negotiation process, the border delimitation process between the two countries, and the de-mining of liberated lands.
The minister pointed out the challenges posed by Armenia to the negotiation process, the gross violation of its obligations, as well as the landmine problem on the liberated territories. He also emphasized the need for OSCE support to eliminate the landmine threat and implement projects in a number of other areas.
As OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries Russia, the USA, and France had been mediating a peaceful solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts resulted in no progress as Armenia refused to abide by the UN Security Council Resolutions (822, 853, 874, and 884) demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of its troops from Azerbaijani territories, which was the main obstacle to the resolution of the conflict.
The trilateral ceasefire deal, signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10, 2020, ended the three-decade-long conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region, which along with the seven adjacent regions came under the occupation of the Armenian armed forces in the war at the outset of 1990s.
On January 11, 2021, the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders signed the second statement after the end of the 44-day war. The newly-signed statement is set to implement clause 9 of the November 2020 statement related to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region.
By Fatima Hasanova