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On 12-13 October in Baku, the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan held their fifth Subcommittee meeting on Justice, Freedom, Security and Human Rights and Democracy.
The meeting was held in a friendly, open and constructive atmosphere, with an exchange on a wide range of issues of mutual interest and concern, as well as discussions on possibilities for further cooperation.
The first day took stock of the implementation of the EU-Azerbaijan ENP Action Plan in the field of migration, asylum, border management, preventing and combating organised crime and other illegal activities, rule of law, judiciary and judicial cooperation.
The second day of the Subcommittee allowed for an exchange of views on democracy and the human rights situation both in the Republic of Azerbaijan as well as in the EU. The talks focused on a broad range of issues, including: the national framework for the protection of human rights; constitutional reform developments; elections and electoral framework; freedom of expression and information; freedom of assembly and association, including the functioning of civil society. The EU and the Republic of Azerbaijan also discussed human rights cooperation within international organisations, in particular at the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
In preparation for the Subcommittee meeting, the EU met with representatives of Azerbaijani NGOs as well as other international partners.
The EU remains engaged in dialogue with Azerbaijan as regards these and other key issues. The EU welcomes the resumption of the Subcommittees under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and looks forward to starting negotiations on a new agreement with Azerbaijan to replace the 1996 PCA and better take account of current bilateral relations.
The Azerbaijani Delegation was headed by Mr Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. The EU Delegation was headed by Mr Dirk Schuebel, Head of the European External Action Service Eastern Partnership Bilateral Division.