Azerbaijan is interested in building its relations with the EU based on mutually agreed priorities, said the country’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

He made the remarks Aug. 31 in Budapest at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) and the Eastern Partnership countries.

Azerbaijan has been a reliable EU partner and the number of its strategic partners among the EU member states and V4 Group is also growing, Mammadyarov noted.

“We are interested in progressing our bilateral track through speedy negotiations on a new strategic agreement with the EU. Since official launch of the negotiations back in February, we have engaged in a productive and constructive dialogue within different blocks of the agreement,” he said.

The FM further noted that successful implementation of readmission and visa facilitation agreements should pave the way for launching the dialogue on visa liberalization between the EU and Azerbaijan.

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The European Council adopted a mandate for the European Commission and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan in November 2016.

The new agreement should replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement and should better take account of the shared objectives and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today.

The agreement will follow the principles endorsed in the 2015 review of the European Neighborhood Policy and offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.