Azerbaijan outraged by Eastern Partnership declaration. Ukraine and Georgia also dissatisfied
The 10th anniversary summit of the Eastern Partnership programmed came to an unsuccessful close earlier this week, RFE/RL reports.
Disagreements around the final declaration
At the end of the summit, a declaration was signed, but the countries participating in the summit decided not to give the document a higher status.
It was decided that none of the representatives of the Eastern Partnership countries would sign it.
As a result, only the signature of the head of EU diplomacy Federica Mogherini appeared.
This decision was made because of the position of Azerbaijan, who objected to the fact that the document did not mention the issue of the country’s territorial integrity in connection with the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Ukraine and Georgia were also dissatisfied with the text of the declaration: namely that it did not mention their desire to integrate with the European Union.
This was later addressed by making reference to previous declarations.
Reaction in Azerbaijan
Media in Azerbaijan reported the refusal of the country’s delegation to sign the declaration as something sensational. But Facebook users did not particularly react to the news.
The few discussions on this topic boiled down to the fact that:
•Azerbaijan did the right thing not to sign a declaration that does not suit the country;
•At the end of the day, Azerbaijan and the European Union need each other, so an agreement must somehow be reached.
Director of the Caucasus Center for Political Analysis Ahmed Alili said “nothing scandalous has happened.”
“The European Union fully supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan on par with other Eastern Partnership countries. Azerbaijan’s blocking of the text of the declaration is connected with the fact that Baku always wants to fight to the end when it comes to defending its territorial integrity … But this did not cause any negative effect in the European Union. Negotiations between Azerbaijan and the EU continue.”
JAMnews political commentator Shahin Rzayev says “the attitude of the European Union to Azerbaijan differs from its attitude to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova because Azerbaijan, unlike these three countries, has not set before itself the aim of joining the European Union. Perhaps, therefore, the European Union is less categorical in the issue of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”
What is the Eastern Partnership?
The Eastern Partnership was created in 2009 – its goal is to promote the integration of the former Soviet republics and the European Union.
The programme involves Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus and Ukraine.
Russia and Belarus: a special position
The summit in Brussels was attended by the leaders of all the countries participating in the program, except for the President of Belarus, who was replaced by Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei.
He explained this by the fact that so far in his country’s relations with the European Union, “some restrictions” remain.
Russia at the time refused to participate in the Eastern Partnership – it demanded that the European Union develop relations with Russia on a bilateral basis.