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Azerbaijan is a bridge connecting Europe and Asia

News.Az interviews Franco Frattini, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, former EU commissioner, President of the Italian Society for International Organisation (SIOI)

You were among participants of the International Humanitarian Forum in Baku early in October. Share please your impressions from Azerbaijan.

I really appreciate Azerbaijan and the hard work that it is doing and as I underlined during my last visit in October Azerbaijan is a bridge connecting Europe and Asia.

What do you think about cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy?

Bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Italy are successfully developing. In my last meeting in Baku with the President of Azerbaijan HE Ilham Aliyev we exchanged positive views on Azerbaijan – Italy and Azerbaijan- European Union future cooperation. Also in 2011, when I still was Minister, I met the Azerbaijan’s Minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, and we spoke about the implementation of our level of cooperation. The “Eastern Partnership” grew a lot in the last few years, and it is concerning not only Italy but the EU on the whole.

May Italy help Azerbaijan in its way towards European integration?

Italy and the Italian people are famous all around the world for being some of the best partners to work or cooperate with. A closer and stronger partnership between our two Countries might be very useful for both Italy and Azerbaijan. We have already done a lot and we have more to do, as I said to Mr. Ilham Aliyev and Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov last October.

What do you think about Karabakh problem? Why the EU doesn’t want to get involve in the settlement of this conflict?

Personally I pay a big attention to the Karabakh problem and the international community is doing the same. But we have to act in the frame of the international legality and in respect with the international law. Even if it means an economic loss. Maybe, EU should be even more committed to cooperate to find a lasting and peaceful solution.

What can you say about the South Tyrol case as a good model of self-determination?

South Tyrol model is a positive exception in the international panorama. The model has many points in its favour but requires constant and on going implementation as well as strong political will over the years. We should further consider also the very heavy financial implications of such a model. This for saying that each situation needs a different answer. And this answer should come from the people and should not be a dictat.

Azeris and Italians have so many similarities. What do you think about future of relations between our two nations?

It is always amazing for me to find in the Azeris so many similarities with Italian people. We must improve all our relations, from culture to economics. It could be an important and nice chance to growing together and strengthen further cooperation.

L.H. News.Az