Azerbaijan, important partner of NATO

By Nigar Orujova

Azerbaijan is a very important and valuable partner of NATO, Romanian ambassador to Azerbaijan and NATO Coordinator in Baku Daniel Cristian Ciobanu said at the international conference "Welsh NATO summit in 2014: Forecasts and prospects" held on August 5.

Ciobanu said the relationship between NATO and Azerbaijan has evolved greatly in recent years.

"The sides are cooperating on reforms in the fields of democracy and defense. They are also developing practical cooperation in many other areas. Meanwhile, NATO is working with Azerbaijan in the field of army training and military modernization," he added.

"The political dialogue between Azerbaijan and NATO covers many areas. Azerbaijan's support for ISAF operations in Afghanistan, as well as its major contributions to the international anti-terrorist campaign is important for NATO," Ciobanu stressed.

He said Azerbaijan's financial and military support for ISAF operations is an indicator of the practical cooperation between the two sides."NATO is highly appreciating this contribution," Ciobanu underlined.

Ciobanu added that there will be further appropriate ground for cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO after NATO's mission comes to an end in Afghanistan in 2014.

He also noted that the cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO is an important contribution to the stability and security of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions.

"Romania, as a member of the EU and NATO, is ready to support the expansion of relations between Azerbaijan and European and Euro-Atlantic institutions," the Romanian ambassador said.

The two sessions of the conference covered challenges and opportunities of the South-Caucasus Region and future expectations of cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan.

British ambassador to Azerbaijan Irfan Siddig spoke about the priorities of Wales NATO Summit.

Addressing the conference, Lieutenant Colonel of Police Academy of Azerbaijan's Internal Affairs Ministry, Vasif Najafov talked about the role of Azerbaijan in overcoming new challenges and threats to NATO member states and its partners.

Moroccan Ambassador Hassan Hami discussed the situation of the South Caucasus at a time of shifting regional and international security challenges.

Following, Senior Research Fellow of Institute on Human Rights of Azerbaijan's National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Elshan Nasibov spoke about the role of NATO in the background of new threats to the international security.

William Lahue, NATO Liaison Officer for South Caucasus, noted that Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov will visit NATO Headquarters in Brussels to negotiate and review the details of the renewed contract between the parties on August 7-8.

Closing the conference, Director of the Institute on Human Rights of ANAS, MP Ayten Mustafayeva noted the active role of Azerbaijan for expanding close cooperation with NATO and required conditions for regional security partnership.

The cooperation plan between Azerbaijan and the NATO is set out in the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) on Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is among the eight partner countries that have confirmed their presence in Afghanistan after 2014.