By Aygul Salmanova
Azerbaijan and NATO, an intergovernmental military alliance between several North American and European states, continue to successfully develop cooperation.
Azerbaijan has played a strong role in NATO missions, said US Permanent Representative to NATO, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison at a press briefing in response to Trend's question.
"We recently had the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at NATO headquarters. That was a very good meeting. We want to keep close ties with Azerbaijan," she added.
Hutchison noted that she is looking forward for a very productive NATO ministerial.
"We are looking forward for a very productive session. First of all, our priority will be the fight against terrorism and particularly, the Resolute Support Mission.”
Hutchison also mentioned that the second area of discussions will be the NATO-EU cooperation that is coming to a much better position. “It is very important for us," she added.
She said that increased military mobility in Europe within that cooperation will also be discussed at the ministerial.
President Ilham Aliyev attended a meeting of the North Atlantic Council of NATO in Brussels on November 23.
During the meeting, the head of state noted that Azerbaijan and NATO maintain successful cooperation in various areas. Stressing Azerbaijan’s active involvement in different missions and operations of NATO, President Aliyev hailed the alliance’s contribution to mine clearance operations in Azerbaijan.
The head of state said Azerbaijan is expanding its peacekeeping activities in Afghanistan and is cooperating with this country at the bilateral level in economic and other areas.
The history of Azerbaijan-NATO relationship dates back to March 1992 when Azerbaijan together with some Central and Eastern European countries, joined a newly established consultative forum – the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), which was transformed into the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council later in 1997.
The Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation is carried out within the "Partnership for Peace" program. Earlier, NATO adopted a document of the fourth stage of the Individual Partnership Action Plan for 2015-2016. The country makes significant contributions to freight transport for peacekeeping operations, while Azerbaijani servicemen contribute to ensuring security in Afghanistan.
Besides, NATO keeps in the focus the issue of security of the oil and gas pipelines in the South Caucasus region that pass through the territory of Azerbaijan as well.
NATO and Azerbaijan are actively cooperating on democratic, institutional, and military reforms, as well as conducting practical cooperation in various areas.
Azerbaijan aspires to achieve Euro-Atlantic standards and get closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this regard, supporting the security sector reform and establishing democratic institutions are the key elements of the NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz