Azerbaijan, NATO, 25 years of partnership

The celebration of the 25th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s partnership with NATO testifies to the country’s achievements, Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov said, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on Friday, May 3, News.Az reports.

Azerbaijan NATO 25 years of partnership 1
Azeri army (Picture source: Youtube)

”Azerbaijan joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Programme on May 4, 1994, when the national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev signed the PfP Framework Document, and this program, which has been successfully continued by President of Azerbaijan and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev, has proved to be one of the most successful engagements in terms of developing effective military relationship and interoperability between NATO and the Azerbaijani Armed Forces,” Hasanov said.

”Despite the current challenges, Azerbaijan has contributed to the achievement of international stability by joining NATO-led operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan since the commencement of the missions,” the minister said. “Realizing the importance of the Resolute Support Mission to the security and continuous development of Afghanistan, as well as to the regional and global security, we increased the number of our military contingent in Afghanistan by 30 percent in 2018,” he said. “Additionally, Azerbaijan’s contribution to Afghanistan also includes non-military aid such as political, financial and logistic support, land-air transit, various training, and mine clearance.”

”Especially, I would like to emphasize that the Azerbaijani Army effectively uses Operational Capability Concept Evaluation and Feedback Programme to achieve operational interoperability,” Hasanov added. “The Azerbaijani Army joined the program with one company in 2004, today the units from all services are involved into the program and the gained experience is shared not only within the country but also with partner nations, thus contributing to the development of the program,” he said.

”Twenty-four officers of the Azerbaijani Army have served at various NATO Headquarters and bodies within this program since 2002,” he said. “Currently, eight Azerbaijani officers are working at various NATO Command structures. The experience, gained by working within the NATO HQs and in an international capacity during all these years, is valuable upon return of our officers to national duties. Knowledge and experience obtained in multinational structures are integrated into national practice to further contribute to the development of defense capabilities of our army.”

“Our substantial cooperation with NATO also includes the integration of NATO education and training standards into our professional military education system,” Hasanov said. “For more than ten years, Azerbaijan has been using the NATO Defence Education Enhancement Programme to train leaders, ready to address new challenges and all kinds of threats in a complex and dynamic strategic sphere.”

”NATO’s various cooperation programs have proved themselves as an effective tool for positive changes,” he added. “We think that the overall stability and security of the Euro-Atlantic area depend on the domestic reforms and international cooperation pursued by the regional countries. NATO's partnership mechanisms and cooperation programs, which we are involved in, play an important role in defining the framework of defense and security reforms of Azerbaijan and the entire region, and enhance the security of the region, as well as the Euro-Atlantic area.”

“It is worth emphasizing that the historical success of the Alliance in preserving integrity, sovereignty and political independence of its members is one of the key factors that gathered so many countries around NATO in diverse partnerships, including the PfP countries,” the minister added. “Not only does the Alliance uphold these principles, but also defends them politically in general as the basis of the Euro-Atlantic security. In this context, NATO member states’ firm position on the settlement of conflicts in the South Caucasus is commendable and Azerbaijan is grateful to NATO for supporting its territorial integrity.”

“Located between Europe and Asia, the South Caucasus, especially Azerbaijan, play a significant role in the global energy market,” Hasanov said. “The South Caucasus is a very important region for Europe in terms of energy security. The existence of unresolved conflicts in the region creates a big threat not only to energy security but also to the stability of Europe. In this perspective, resolution of the conflicts in accordance with the principles and norms of international law, as well as the UN Charter, is in the interest of the international community.”


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