BRUSSELS -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has met with European Council President Herman van Rompuy for talks focusing on energy security, human rights, and the Nagorno-Karabakh territorial dispute.
Speaking at a press conference on June 21, van Rompuy called Azerbaijan an important partner in European energy plans.
Van Rompuy also said the European Union hopes presidential elections in Azerbaijan later this year would be free and fair.
Aliyev spoke about Azerbaijan's territorial dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and thanked Europe for its help in attempting the mediate a solution.
Aliyev also highlighted what he considered an important development that occurred since his last visit to Brussels: the agreement between Baku and Ankara to build the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline.
The pipeline would eventually bring Azerbaijani gas through Turkey to the borders of Europe.
Aliyev was expected to meet later with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
The European Union is interested in having a gas pipeline route from the Caspian region that avoids transiting Russian territory.
The EU unveiled its Southern Corridor project in 2009, which envisioned a number of routes to bring mainly gas from countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.
But so far, there has been little progress toward realizing that goal.
Ahead of the meeting, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Barroso to speak out about Azerbaijan's human rights record.
Based on reporting by Trend.az, ITAR-TASS, and RFE/RL