April 29 2009

Brussels - APA. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had a meeting with
the representatives of European Policy Center on the theme "Azerbaijan:
an increasingly important partner for the EU" in Brussels on April 28,
APA reports quoting AzerTAC state agency. Making a keynote speech
at the meeting, head of the center Hans Martens said Azerbaijan's
relations with the European organizations and the European Union were
extending successfully. He said Azerbaijan actively participated in
the European Neighborhood Policy, was a reliable energy partner of
the European Union and underlined Azerbaijan's special role in the
energy security of Europe.

President Ilham Aliyev briefed the participants about the economic
reforms carried out in Azerbaijan and indicators of the economic

"Share of private sector has increased in economy, there is favorable
business environment, reforms are being carried out in the field of
democratization and rule of law. Measures are taken in Azerbaijan to
turn over oil revenues to human capital, much attention is paid to the
implementation of transnational energy projects. It is not accidental
that now Azerbaijan plays an important role in ensuring energy security
of Europe. Successful economic policy is highly assessed by the
international financial organizations. According to the World Bank's
report "Doing Business" Azerbaijan is the top reformer," he said.

Ilham Aliyev said oil production was increasing in Azerbaijan and
highly assessed the country's transit opportunities.

"Azerbaijan's attaches great importance to the regional
cooperation. Despite this, there still are unsolved problems in the
region. Armenia has been occupying a part of Azerbaijani territories
for 20 years. Over 1 million Azerbaijanis have been displaced. Though
international organizations adopted resolutions condemning this
occupation, Armenia ignores these documents. Azerbaijan's position
is firm - the occupied territories should be emptied, IDPs should
return to their native lands and Azerbaijan's territorial integrity
should be restored," he said.

The head of state said Armenia occupied not only Nagorny Karabakh,
but seven nearby regions as well and destroyed infrastructure in those
territories. Nagorny Karabakh is a historic land of Azerbaijan and
Azerbaijan will never give independence to Nagorny Karabakh, said
President Ilham Aliyev. "The only solution to the conflict is the
Armenia's withdrawal from the occupied territories. Then Azerbaijan can
give a highest status of self-determination to Nagorny Karabakh. There
are no prospects for the invader's policy".

President Aliyev said Azerbaijan had large transit opportunities
in the Caspian region and shared these opportunities with all its
partners. The president said Azerbaijan followed the goal to become one
of the most developed countries in the world. As a result of economic
development more than 700 thousand new job places were created in
recent years in the country, which improved welfare of the people
and opened new financial opportunities for the country. "Recently
Azerbaijan was a gas importer, but now our country became one of the
main gas exporters. Azerbaijan is exporting its natural gas to Georgia,
Turkey and to the EU market".

President Ilham Aliyev said both Azerbaijan and EU would benefit
from the cooperation within the framework of Eastern Partnership
Program. Answering the question about the Turkey-Armenia relations,
President Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan doesn't interfere in the
policy of any country. "It is clear that Armenia-Turkey borders were
closed because of occupation of Azerbaijani lands. This occupation
is still continuing".