EU welcomes Azerbaijani president's pardon order
The European Union on Monday welcomed the recent release of 84 prisoners, including four pro-democracy activists, by the government of Azerbaijan under a pardon order signed by President Ilham Aliyev.
"We greet this amnesty as a positive first step in reversing the trend of recent months," read a joint statement issued by EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Stefan Fule, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy.
Stressing on the importance the EU attaches to its ties with Azerbaijan, both Ashton and Fule noted that EU-Azerbaijan bilateral relations have considerable potential to benefit both sides.
"We share Azerbaijan's desire for a stable, secure, and prosperous future for the country and remain convinced that an open and inclusive national dialogue, in line with Azerbaijan's international commitments as a member and current Chair of the Council of Europe, is the best path to achieving this goal," the statement added.