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Monday July 15 2024

Azerbaijan-NATO relations: Result of Baku's balanced foreign policy

15 June 2024 08:30 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan-NATO relations: Result of Baku's balanced foreign policy
Fatima Latifova
Fatima Latifova
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Azerbaijan always pays great attention to security issues when implementing its foreign policy strategy. The reason is that the country's geographical position and oil reserves have made these lands the target of foreign forces for many years. Therefore, official Baku attaches special importance to relations with NATO, the largest military organization in the modern world.

Thus, within the framework of cooperation with NATO, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan has implemented the SNT program, the Operational Plan for Individual Partnerships, the Planning and Analysis Process, the Concept of Operational Capabilities, the Headquarters Positions of the Partnership, the Defense Education Expansion Program, the Science for Peace Program and other important partnership mechanisms of NATO.

Taking advantage of these mechanisms, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan carries out its activities within the framework of relevant reforms in the fields of application of modern standards in the military training and education process, training of Peacekeeping Forces, personnel management, maritime security, material, and technical support, learning of experiences, cyber security, energy security, and airspace control.

The recent visit of Hikmet Hajiyev, Assistant of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration, to Belgium once again confirms the success of the development strategy of these relations. It should be noted that Hikmet Hajiyev discussed in detail the current situation and prospects of the partnership between the two countries at the "NATO+Azerbaijan" dialogue.

Commenting on the topic to Azernews, military expert Ramil Mammadli linked the current level of NATO-Azerbaijani relations with its historical importance.

"Cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO began in 1992. At the same time, Azerbaijan was a member of the North Atlantic Council, and precisely from the beginning of the 1990s, certain cooperation between this organization and Azerbaijan was carried out. Azerbaijan, as a reliable partner, has always fulfilled its mission at a high level," the expert said.

Ramil Mammadli added that the events in the region also affect relations with NATO.

"Now it's time to reconsider NATO-Azerbaijan relations. The processes taking place in the South Caucasus, regional issues dictate this," he said.

The military expert also mentioned Azerbaijan's participation in NATO exercises.

"Azerbaijan continuously participated in both tactical and headquarters exercises with NATO member countries. These relations are continued in the hot spots of the world within the framework of real military operations," the expert said.

R. Mammadli touched on Azerbaijan's participation in the peacekeeping mission in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. He said that the Azerbaijani army was able to benefit from the experiences of NATO.

"Azerbaijan also participated in peacekeeping missions in the military operations conducted in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo. The Azerbaijani Army was able to master a number of issues based on NATO's experience in this direction. They were able to implement a number of important points both in terms of weapons and equipment arsenal, both strategically and tactically and in terms of conducting the battle," the expert said.

Speaking about NATO's regional missions, the expert also said that the organization is not sustainable.

"We know that the NATO mission is no longer active in Afghanistan and Iraq. From this point of view, we can say that the attitude of NATO itself to the issues in the region is not so active and sustainable."

Moreover, the military expert spoke about the influence of the United States on NATO.

"We must not forget that the main driving force of this institution is the United States of America. Washington is actually a structural force that ensures the existence of NATO. The security dialogue conducted individually between NATO and other countries is carried out in the format of discussing these current issues," Ramil Mammadli said.

In addition, he commented on Azerbaijan's relations with NATO and at the same time expressed NATO's expectations from Azerbaijan.

"NATO has what Azerbaijan wants. These are issues such as the weakening of the Russian factor in the South Caucasus, and the direct development of NATO-Azerbaijan relations. The views expressed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his visit to Azerbaijan some time ago reflected these points," the expert emphasised.

Ramil Mammadli said that in such a sensitive moment, the leadership of Azerbaijan implemented a logical and competent policy.

"Azerbaijan tries to carry out a balanced policy as much as possible. The South Caucasus is a region that always draws attention. Azerbaijan's liberation of its lands in such an area and its development are directly related to its strong and far-sighted policy.

It should be noted that currently the security systems provided by NATO are used by the developed countries of the world. In this regard, cooperation with NATO is very useful for Azerbaijan in terms of ensuring security in the cross-border, maritime, and cyber spheres.

Also, cooperation with Azerbaijan, which has an important strategic geographical position and is the leading country in the South Caucasus, is very important for NATO. Azerbaijan's favorable geographical position and military and economic capabilities are highly valued by NATO," the expert concluded.

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