Angela Merkel in Azerbaijan
Important partner for energy supplies
Last day of the Chancellor’s trip to the South Caucasus: In Azerbaijan, Angela Merkel met with President Ilham Aliyev to discuss relations with Germany and the EU, energy supplies and human rights. The Chancellor would like to see closer economic cooperation.
It was Angela Merkel’s first visit to Azerbaijan as Chancellor. Both Germany and Azerbaijan "would like to see a partnership" said the Chancellor. Relations are to be further developed in this direction "on the basis of openness".
The Chancellor underscored the importance of the country in the energy supply sector. Azerbaijan, she said, is "an important factor for the European Union in moves to diversify the sources of our energy supplies".
Germany and Azerbaijan enjoy lively trade. Baku has a German-Azerbaijani chamber of commerce and 150 German companies operate in Azerbaijan. Angela Merkel said Germany can make an important contribution to diversifying Azerbaijan’s economy.
Intensive talks on human rights issues
The Chancellor’s talks with President Ilham Aliyev also looked at the current situation in Azerbaijan and at human rights issues. Talks were intensive and took place in a "very frank and open atmosphere". Even when opinions diverge, it is important to keep talking, said the Chancellor. "I have worked to put over the point that strong civil society is an essential part of an open, secular society, and have made it plain that this is also what we wish to see," said Angela Merkel.
In Baku, the Chancellor also met with representatives of Azerbaijan’s civil society, including peace and youth activities, women’s rights activists and an investigative journalist.
Conflict over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh
Another item on the agenda in Baku was the conflict over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has divided Azerbaijan and neighbouring Armenia for decades. Angela Merkel underscored the fact that "It is in Germany’s interests that this conflict be resolved." The OSCE-led Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the USA, is endeavouring to identify a peaceful solution to the conflict. Germany and its EU partners support the negotiations and the engagement of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus.