By Abdul Kerimkhanov
NATO supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty and is in favor of a peaceful solution to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, said on November 26.
Stuart Peach made the remarks while meeting Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, on the sidelines of the meeting with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia held in Baku.
Peach noted that Azerbaijan is a reliable partner of Alliance and highly appreciated the participation of the country in the fight against terrorism, its significant contribution in providing airspace to cargo transportation for peacekeeping operations, including the high level of professionalism of Azerbaijani peacekeepers in Afghanistan. He highlighted the active participation of Azerbaijani servicemen in many programs of the Alliance, as well as the level of readiness of Azerbaijani officers undergoing service at various NATO headquarters.
Furthermore, he expressed gratitude to Azerbaijan for its assistance in holding a meeting between NATO and Russian military commands.
For this part, Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov spoke about the military-political situation in the region and the political support provided by NATO to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. Hasanov stressed that this serves to strengthen Euro-Atlantic security and is also important for regional peace and stability, as well as expressed confidence that the Alliance will continue its efforts in this issue.
Speaking about the 25-year sustainable cooperation between Azerbaijan and the North Atlantic Alliance, Hasanov noted the development of these relations, the activities of the Azerbaijan Army in various programs and the contribution made by Azerbaijan to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
During the meeting, the sides discussed issues of operational training, conducting exercises, the development of military education, the achievement of interoperability of troops within the framework of cooperation plan between Azerbaijan and NATO, and held a detailed exchange of views on the prospects for the development of cooperation and possible contribution of our country to the NATO mission in Iraq.
In the meantime, Azerbaijani First Deputy Minister of Defense and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Colonel General Najmeddin Sadikov met with the delegation led by Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and First Deputy Minister of Defense, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov.
Sadikov pointed the important role of the heads of state in expanding relations between the two countries. He emphasized the cooperation is based on friendship and mutual trust, adding that these relations have reached the level of strategic partnership in recent years.
Stressing a plan of bilateral cooperation between the Defense Ministries of Azerbaijan and Russia for 2020, Sadikov noted that the number of events covering various areas of the military field has increased.
While speaking about cooperation in the military-technical sphere, he noted that Azerbaijan pays special attention to cooperation with Russian defense industry companies.
Referring to the military-political situation and security issues in the region, Sadikov noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the main threat to the regional security. He emphasized the importance of resolving the conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan based on the norms and principles of international law.
In turn, Gerasimov also noted that mutual relations have historical roots, and countries are strategic partners. He emphasized the importance of organization of mutual meetings between military representatives in terms of expansion of bilateral relations, as well as military and military-technical cooperation.
Then the parties discussed the current state of military and military-technical cooperation, prospects for the development of relations in the field of military education. They held a thorough exchange of views on issues of mutual interest.
Gerasimov expressed deep gratitude to the leadership of Azerbaijan for organization of bilateral meeting with the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Baku.
At the same time, Gerasimov and Peach discussed measures to prevent incidents on the Russia-NATO contact line at a meeting in Baku, including the prospect of resumption of dialogue between military experts.
“The military leaders exchanged views on the situation in the field of European security, possible measures to prevent incidents on the Russia-NATO contact line, including the prospect of resuming a dialogue of military experts, and also discussed the situation in crisis regions,” Gerasimov said.
This is Gerasimov’s first meeting with Peach, who assumed the duties of chairman of NATO’s Military Committee in June. Prior to this, they had talked only over phone.
Previously there were several meetings between NATO and Russian military officials in Azerbaijan. In particular, Gerasimov and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford held a meeting in Azerbaijan’s capital on February 16, 2017.
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Petr Pavel and Gerasimov met on September 7, 2017, in Baku.
Gerasimov and Curtis Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO Allied Command Operations Curtis Scaparrotti, have discussed military activities of NATO and Russia in Europe, as well as increasing confidence measures and preventing incidents on April 19, 2018.
Finally, the meeting between NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod D. Wolters and Gerasimov was held on July 10, 2019, in Baku.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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