I just got back from Azerbaijan and Armenia, bridges between Europe and Asia, two countries that are still consolidating their fragile democracies, among difficulties and contradictions. It was an intense trip, during which I did not only meet the governments of two important partners for our European Union, but also civil society organisations and NGOs in both countries.
The two nations are still divided by the open wound of Nagorno Karabakh. For the European Union the peaceful solution of the conflict is high on the agenda, and we are constantly involved through our Special Representative.
My visit kicked off on Monday with a speech at the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, a great project that is crucial for Southern Europe’s energy safety. And beyond that, it is crucial to strengthen cooperation among the countries that take part in the project, to deepen and potentially expand the network of relations in a strategic region.
In Baku I also met with President Ilham Aliyev and the Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov: we discussed the situation in the region, among Iran, Turkey and Russia, and bilateral ties with the EU. With them and with civil society representatives I also talked about the importance the European Union attaches to the respect of human rights, of freedom of association and expression. Here the video of my press conference in Baku.
Internal reforms, bilateral relations and the situation in the region were also at the centre of my talks in Yerevan, with President Serzh Sargsyan, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, with members of the majority and opposition factions in Parliament and with the civil society. With the latter, I had a long conversation on how to turn into concrete action the values of democracy, pluralism, engagement and the rule of law – which are the best investment for each country’s economic growth and security. And both growth and security are badly needed in these difficult times. Here is the video of my press conference in Armenia.
Back to Brussels now for the weekly meeting of the Commission and the monthly coordination meeting I chair with all Commissioners who deal with the Union’s external action.
Federica Mogherini is the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission since 1st November 2014. She was the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs from February to October 2014 and a Member of the Italian Parliament (Chamber of Deputies), where she was elected for the first time in 2008.