EU deal to help Azerbaijan boost co-op with Czech Republic: envoy
The currently negotiated agreement on strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and the EU will open the way for broader cooperation with the Czech Republic as well, the Czech Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vitezslav Pivonka said in an interview with Trend
"The Czech Republic and Azerbaijan are strategic partners and an agreement on this was reached in 2015 during the Czech President Milos Zeman’s visit to Azerbaijan. We are glad that Azerbaijan and the EU, where the Czech Republic is a member, have started the talks for updating the document that is the basis for their relations," the envoy said, adding the Czech Republic wants this document to open the way to broader cooperation, in economy as well.
Touching upon the Czech Republic-Azerbaijan ties, the diplomat noted that the level of these relations is very high.
"Both countries are similar to each other in many respects and it is not just about the population or territory size. The South Caucasus region is largely similar to the situation that prevailed in Central Europe several decades ago. In other words, we, the Czechs, are very well aware of all the nuances of living in the territory where the interests of many influential players of world politics intersect."
"My words are confirmed by the fact that our people cooperated even before the moment both our countries gained independence. We are right now working on a book that will for the first time present the rich history of the Czech-Azerbaijani relations. For example, in pre-revolutionary times, there was a Czech community in Baku numbering about 140 people," Pivonka noted.
The ambassador also pointed out the cultural influence of the Azerbaijanis on the Czech Republic.
"The Czech Republic and Azerbaijan are strategic partners. I am sure that this form of cooperation fully reflects the friendly relations between our countries. Moreover, we are successfully developing a database of documents defining the areas of cooperation between our countries. The intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation, the meetings of which are held annually, helps us a lot in this," Pivonka added.
On November 14, 2016, the European Council issued a mandate to the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan on behalf of the EU and its member states.
The new agreement must replace the partnership and cooperation agreement signed in 1996 and must more take into account the common goals and challenges facing the EU and Azerbaijan today.