Elmar Mammadyarov: Ladies and gentlemen! As you know, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Federative Republic of Germany is on a working visit to Azerbaijan. We have just had a tete-a tete meeting with him. As you may know, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev have paid 4 visits to the Federative Republic of Germany for the last one and half year. Furthermore, me and other Government members have been on some official and working visits in Germany. The relations between Germany and Azerbaijan are steadily strengthening and developing. Azerbaijan remains the main trade partner of Germany in the South Caucasus region and German companies are widely operating in Azerbaijan. After the press-conference with my colleague we will continue the negotiations, as well as the discussions on regional projects including East-West, North-South transport and energy ones. The German side and German companies demonstrate a great interest in these projects. The Azerbaijan-Germany relationship has a great history. In 2017, the 200th anniversary of the establishment of German settlements in Azerbaijan will be celebrated. We plan to involve UNESCO in this event, as well. With the initiative of Azerbaijan, the German heritage was inscribed to the list of cultural monuments of UNESCO. The Government of Azerbaijan is carrying out the restoration work for the protection of German monuments in Azerbaijan. According to the latest information 4 churches have already been repaired. The villages and settlements in which the German population lived have been restored.
We touched upon the relations with the European Union. As you may know, Azerbaijan has presented a draft agreement on Strategic Partnership to the EU. We believe that this fall the EU will provide a mandate to start the negotiations on this draft agreement. Generally, the relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are continuously strengthening and developing. Recently, a new Global strategy of the EU has been presented. In this document it was stated that the main elements of the European security are the sovereignty, independency and territorial integrity of states, as well as inviolability of borders and peaceful settlement of disputes.
We touched upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well. Mr. Steinmeier visited Baku after Yerevan; he discussed this issue in Yerevan. You know that, the Sankt-Petersburg meeting of the Presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia is positively assessed. It is time to tackle this issue very seriously. This conflict has to be solved. We understand that it is difficult to resolve it wholly, but we can make progress step by step in the settlement of the conflict. The Azerbaijani side firmly states that the troops of Armenia have to be withdrawn from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. It is right time to change the existing status-quo. Everyone knows that the existing status-quo is unacceptable and unsustainable.
Question: My first question is for Mr. Steinmeier. While you were in Armenia, you had a meeting with Bako Saakyan. We would like to know in which status he met with you and whether you had a similar meeting with the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh region? In your statements in Armenia you mentioned that the existing status-quo is not sustainable. What did you mean saying that? Did you mean that in order to end the occupation, Armenia has to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan? My second question is for Mr. Mammadyarov. It has not been announced that a new meeting will take place after the Sankt-Petersburg meeting. Are there any plans for the meetings of presidents or foreign ministers with each other or the Minsk Group co-chairs? Also it is assumed that France will host the next meeting and even there are news that the meeting will take place on the 20th of the next month. Generally, will France host the next meeting?
Elmar Mammadyarov: As a result of Sankt-Petersburg meeting, the presidents agreed that the foreign minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov would visit to the region. It has already been publicly announced that on the 4th of the next month Sergey Lavrov will visit Yerevan. Afterwards it is expected that he will visit Baku.
We will continue the substantive negotiations with him. Most likely, the next meeting will be at the presidential level. Now I cannot tell where it will take place. But it is known that there has been such a proposal from the French side. The French foreign minister proposed the venue of the next meeting in Paris. We don’t have any objection. However, the negotiations should be result oriented and have substantive character. It should be not for the for the sake of negotiations.
Question: My first question is for German minister. There is a lot of criticism about the “North Stream 2” project. It is argued that the project fails to be compatible with the mainstream policy of EU. How do you think of that? And also what can you say about the TAP and TANAP projects? My second question is for Mr. Mammadyarov. You have talked about the German heritage in Azerbaijan. What kind of measures will be implemented in order to promote it?
Elmar Mammadyarov: We have discussed this issue with the German foreign minister. I addressed a letter to him on that issue. The first German settlers came to Azerbaijan back in 1817. They were settled in Tovuz, Akstafa, Ganja and Mingechaur areas. We will discuss the restoration of “Siemens” museum in Gadabay, regional and memorial house museums in Goygol. The last German who lived in Goygol, Azerbaijan died in 2007. We have a joint project named “The German settlers of Azerbaijan” with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. There are a number of proposals in the letter addressed to Mr. Steinmeier. We will celebrate the 200th anniversary with the participation of UNESCO, as well.
The full video of the joint press conference can be obtained from the following link