“It’s very sad that in the year 2013, we see that in the South-Caucasus – as a result of a conflict that has lasted now for more than two decades – nearly one million people are still refugees and cannot return to their homes. I have the impression that the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh is still a bit underestimated by the international community. The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize last year and therefore it should be its moral duty to contribute to a peaceful neighborhood. The moment is there to fully implement the European Neighborhood Policy and enhance the peace process that is in compliance with the international legal framework. Over the past years Azerbaijan has showed an increased openness to the West, including Europe.
One should know that the geopolitical environment in the South-Caucasus is very complex, not only on a geopolitical and strategical, but also on the level of energy security and diversification. Indeed, the strategical importance of Azerbaijan as a reliable energy supplier should not be underestimated. Azerbaijan is a country that has witnessed an incredible economic growth. Alongside economic growth the civil society has more resources in supporting democratic values.It is clear that the OSCE Minsk Group has not had decisive breakthroughs in solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The European Union can increase the legitimacy of the Minsk Group if it takes a seat in it as one common actor representing 27 countries. In the mean time, the continued presence of an EU Special Representative in the South-Caucasus is a sign that Europe is committed about the region and realizes that the South-Caucasus is a very interesting region on a geostrategic level. The EU will without any doubt continue to pay a particular attention to the region.
Energy is one of the key priorities in European politics these days. Indeed, agreement on the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline is perhaps the ultimate proof that EU and Azerbaijan share a natural partnership through which almost any political consensus can be achieved.
Moreover, in the light of the European elections in May 2014, the importance of energy security and – diversification will take a defining position in the political debate. I’m convinced that the TAP will approach the Azerbaijani and European interests and contribute to a mutual mindset,” she said.