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NATO Chief's visit to Baku shatters Armenia's black PR in Europe

18 March 2024 15:00 (UTC+04:00)
NATO Chief's visit to Baku shatters Armenia's black PR in Europe
Elnur Enveroglu
Elnur Enveroglu
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Armenia's intention to create discord between Azerbaijan and the West was watered down this time as well. Does a group of the Armenian diaspora, which has been annoying the European Parliament, the UN, and other international organisations for a long time, while observing the scene that is emerging today, think to themselves and ask a question - are we deceiving ourselves, our nation, our 'friends' or others?

A short tour of the processes makes it clear that neither the European Parliament nor the Western countries as a whole are working on a specific plan against Azerbaijan. This is just a false impression spread by Armenia through black PR, biased media, and political mouthpieces. If this is so, why does the West not impose sanctions on Azerbaijan or refuse partnership with Azerbaijan over energy?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's visit to Azerbaijan not only expressed that Azerbaijan's political weight is quite heavy, but also gave several messages to Armenia.

Azerbaijan cannot be put on the same scale as Armenia, and our alliance is not in the form of a sisterly alliance of Yerevan and Paris; this alliance is multifaceted and has more strategic importance.

"I welcome that Azerbaijan is developing closer and closer ties with several NATO allies and that your country is playing a more and more important role in delivering gas, but also, in the future, power electricity to key NATO allies in Europe."

Azerbaijan has always stood by its partners in hard times. It is not for nothing that Azerbaijan received the title of the most reliable partner in Europe. At a time when Europe and the West are experiencing an energy crisis, Azerbaijan's joint activity with the West as a stable supporter in this matter literally confirms what the NATO head said. As Stoltenberg emphasised in another speech, "Azerbaijan also plays an important role in the strengthening of Western societies”.

But how long will Armenia, which tries to prevent this and tries to use every means to create polemics on the agenda with meaningless shows, waste time with such insignificant activities?

Azerbaijan's cooperation with NATO has a history of 32 years. The relations of our country, which has been cooperating with the North Atlantic Alliance since 1992, are further strengthened by the PfP (Partnership for Peace) agreement signed in 1994 at the initiative of the national leader Heydar Aliyev. This was followed by the signing of the Security Agreement between NATO and Azerbaijan in 1995, which played an incentive role in the ratification of the Cooperation for Peace agreement the following year.

It should be noted that NATO-Azerbaijani cooperation has a consistent historical chronology. On February 13, 1997, former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana's visit to Azerbaijan and his speech in the Azerbaijani parliament once again demonstrated that there is continuous cooperation in the relations of the NATO leadership with Azerbaijan.

It is significant to note that within the framework of its Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme based upon the PfP Framework Document, Azerbaijan has been participating annually at more than 200 events. The Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme enables Azerbaijan to benefit from various activities such as courses, exercises, and conferences organised by NATO allies and some partners.

In addition to cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance, Azerbaijan attaches great importance to cooperation with NATO in the field of anti-terrorism, which the international community must tackle together. NATO has been actively engaged in the fight against terrorism and focuses on improved threat awareness and preparedness, developing adequate capabilities, and enhancing engagement with partner countries and other international actors. Azerbaijan is building its interaction with the NATO and Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) countries in a wide range of areas relevant to the fight against terrorism, including the military response to terrorism, enhancement of national counter-terrorism training capabilities, intelligence and information sharing, border security, and civil protection anti-terrorist measures.

The military cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO can be highlighted in a special way. During the press statement together with the American general, President Ilham Aliyev gave a brief example from the recent history of this cooperation: “The NATO-Azerbaijan partnership has already had a long history - more than 30 years of good partnership. Azerbaijan participated in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. That was a great experience for us. Our military servicemen were among the last of the coalition forces in Afghanistan to leave that country at the end of August 2021. So, this once again demonstrates our strong commitment to our cooperation.”

It is a matter of pride that Azerbaijan, which has a high reputation within the framework of NATO and other international organisations, is also taking the initiative in the regional peace process and today continues the last stage of the restoration of relations with Armenia. Achieving the restoration of territorial integrity and being in close partnership with NATO cannot be considered the result of ordinary political power. Azerbaijan takes comprehensive steps to maintain its leadership in the region and confirms this with real evidence at every moment.

Apart from military cooperation, Azerbaijan is also the West's most reliable energy partner, and in this regard, the importance of the country is very high for both the Alliance and European countries.

The most important fact is that the demand for Azerbaijani gas is increasing day by day, and NATO countries are also included in these ranks. This not only increases the importance of Azerbaijan but also increases its responsibility. The head of state expressed his attitude towards this issue while making a press statement with the NATO Secretary General and stressed that the list of energy partners will be expanded in the next year.

“Two more NATO member states became our partners with respect to natural gas supply. Today, Azerbaijan is exporting natural gas to eight countries, six of which are member states of NATO, and two are partners to NATO. I'm sure that in the coming years, the number of our partners will grow. The European Commission calls Azerbaijan a reliable partner and a pan-European gas supplier. This is, of course, a big advantage and also a big responsibility,” the president said.

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Elnur Enveroglu is AzerNews’ Deputy Editor-in-Chief; follow him on @ElnurMammadli1

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