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Azerbaijan's struggle for peace within cooperation with NATO

19 March 2024 08:30 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan's struggle for peace within cooperation with NATO
Qabil Ashirov
Qabil Ashirov
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Currently, the North Atlantic Alliance, known as the most powerful military organization in the world, or NATO for short, is of interest to many post-Soviet countries. Even some of those countries aspired to join NATO, especially former left bloc ones and some republics of the former USSR, are eager to be members of the organization. However, such actions sometimes raise concerns of mostly Russia and Iran. For being a member of NATO some countries even have risked a war.

As for Azerbaijan, it has very specific cooperation and partnership with NATO, but Baku has not aimed to be a member of the organization. The history of cooperation with NATO traces back to the mid-1990s. Azerbaijan participated in peace-making operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Besides, Azerbaijani military personnel were trained in several NATO centers. However, given the geopolitical situation, along with all these cooperation, Azerbaijan has always been reluctant to become a NATO member.

Speaking to Azernews on the issue, military expert Ramil Mammadli noted that like the other republics that gained independence after the collapse of the USSR, Azerbaijan also began to express interest in cooperating with NATO, and of course one of the main factors here was the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and the negative attitude of Russian president Boris Yeltsin towards Azerbaijan. He said that cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO began to take shape in the mid-1990s. Of course, Azerbaijan also became a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in a very short time. Certain activities were also shown in this regard.

“However, the issue of cooperation with NATO began to rapidly progress during that period, and at the end of the 1990s, Azerbaijan started participating in peace-making missions with NATO. Azerbaijan participated in operations and events in this direction in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. In parallel with all this, the Azerbaijani army participated in various trainings initiated and organized by NATO partner countries and NATO itself, regular and officer personnel of the Azerbaijani army continuously attended courses in educational and training institutions. In a word, the Azerbaijani army formed and deepened its relations with the armies of the world, especially with the armies of the Western countries, within the framework of cooperation with NATO,” Pundit underlined.

Mammadli pointed out that Azerbaijan fulfilled its obligations like logistics, technical support and so on. He said that the relationship was quite deep and even a cooperation center with NATO was established in the Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry. But earlier he was more active. Pundit added that the processes that took place in the region starting from the mid-2010s, confrontation between Russia and the West, NATO's expansion towards Russia, its activities in Eastern European countries, Ukraine and the South Caucasus, and the steps aimed at Russia naturally led to the formation of new conflict centers.

“As a result, starting from 2014, a hotbed of conflict between Russia and NATO appeared on the territory of Ukraine. Starting from 2020, this fire flared up and entered the war phase. Of course, in this case, Azerbaijan has reviewed the issue of cooperation with NATO in order not to damage the relations with its neighbors. Besides, Azerbaijan has had a rightful demand, as well. As is known, despite the fact that 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan has been under occupation for many years, NATO and its main countries did not take any concrete measures to eliminate this occupation,” he emphasized.

Ramil Mammadli said that they did not participate in the projects of arming the Azerbaijani army for liberating its occupied territories and even they created obstacles before Azerbaijan and did not allow to be armed with offensive weapons.

“They even imposed sanctions in various forms. Of course, only some countries did not participate in this process individually within the framework of bilateral cooperation. Today, the support given to Armenia by the main leading NATO countries and the lack of pressure to sign a peace treaty naturally worries official Baku. All these above-mentioned current situations pose certain questions in deepening Azerbaijan's relations with NATO. In any case, the most important issue for Azerbaijan is the long-term establishment of peace and stability in the region,” the military expert concluded.

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Qabil Ashirov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @g_Ashirov

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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