“I highly appreciated the works done by Azerbaijan as part of the Eastern Partnership program with the European Union,” President of the Institute for European Perspective & Security in Europe Emmanuel Dupuy said.
According to him, since Azerbaijan has immense prospects, this sphere requires even bigger efforts: “We observe the results of reforms conducted in Azerbaijan primarily within its cooperation with the European Union. This year marks the tenth anniversary of cooperation between the member-states of the European Partnership program. Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have already achieved signing an association agreement with the European Union. In such conditions, the other three countries – Azerbaijan, Belarus and Armenia can also progress by holding reforms. It is even possible to eliminate the visa restrictions to the Shenghen countries. Naturally, Azerbaijan made a great progress at this stage and entered the stage of broad discussions as part of the Eastern Partnership program. This stage promises perspectives for bigger successes through bigger efforts.”
Dupuy also touched upon the amnesty act signed by Ilham Aliyev on March 16: “Naturally, the fact that the recent amnesty act covered 431 inmates is the result and the bright example of reforms held in Azerbaijan. Thus, according to the decree, 399 people were released from the unserved part of their sentence. Certainly, the release of a number of prisoners on the list of some international organizations, including former Health Minister Ali Insanov, is a humanistic step. It shows that Ilham Aliyev is sensitive towards people’s problem, takes their wishes into account and takes necessary steps. In any case, the reforms held in Azerbaijan reflect the people’s will and the wishes of the international community.”
The French expert also noted a progress in the process of Azerbaijani-Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement: “The prospects of conflict settlement have never been as close as they are now. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, under the pressure of the people who brought him to power in April last year, also demonstrates interest in solving the problem by showing an intention to put an end to the status of the ‘frozen conflict’. For this reason, though there is no possibility of using armament to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it is important in terms of balancing the situation. In any case, Azerbaijan and Armenia buy the weapons from one place. The only difference is that Armenia gets these weapons from Russia almost for free, since it is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Today Azerbaijan buys arms from Russia, Israel and Ukraine, managing to consolidate its army without anyone’s help. At the defense exhibition held in September last year, we observed Azerbaijan’s great interest in western warships.”
Dupuy considers Azerbaijan’s policy held on the international arena under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev to be successful: “Azerbaijani President’s policy on the international arena aimed at raising the country’s image was also successful. I would also to note the successful policy especially in two spheres. This is, first of all, the sphere of sport. In just a week, Baku will play the host to the fourth stage of Formula 1 race. On the other hand, Azerbaijani companies sponsor various international sporting competitions. I would like to particularly note SOCAR’s activity.”
The French expert stressed the significance of the decree of the President of Azerbaijan on increasing benefits for martyrs’ families: “Of course, this decree is highly valuable as a step towards social policy and citizens’ welfare. The state care and value given to martyrs and military is of special meaning. Let’s not forget that a part of Azerbaijani lands is held under occupation of a neighbor state. With this in mind, President Ilham Aliyev’s appeal to principles of national integrity and national soveregnty through creating social pact among the people who voted for him is of special significance.”