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NATO, Azerbaijan to implement new co-op programs

9 July 2014 10:35 (UTC+04:00)
NATO, Azerbaijan to implement new co-op programs

By Jamila Babayeva

There are several programs at the approval stage, and they will be implemented by NATO jointly with Azerbaijan, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai said.

He made the remarks at a ceremony dedicated to the completion of the first stage of the project for clearing of Jeyranchol area from mines and unexploded ordnance. The ceremony held on July 8 also marked the beginning of second stage of this project.

Jeyranchol area located in the north-western part of the country along the Azerbaijani-Georgian border was intensively used as a testing and training area of the former Soviet Army in 1955-1991s. The projects' stages are implemented by Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) and NATO/NSPA Partnership for Peace Trust Fund.

The first stage of mine clearance was completed within 28 months. During the operation, 19 m. km was finally cleared and 14 578 UXO were found and disarmed. The U.S. has taken the role of the Lead Nation for this project. The Azerbaijani government contributed 50 percent of the total budget of the project.

The second 24-month phase of the project has started and it is intended to conduct clearance operations in 23.585.545 square meter area.

Appathurai said one of the projects initiated by NATO, is being implemented in partnership with Azerbaijan.

He noted that Azerbaijan makes a great contribution to the activity of NATO.

"We appreciate this, and want to contribute to Azerbaijan. Your country very much helps Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Afghanistan continue cooperating, which is an example of a good partnership between NATO and Azerbaijan," Appathurai said.

He said a final forum will be held within ISAF, adding that Azerbaijani leadership will also be invited to take part in it.

Appathurai also stressed that it was decided to continue the cooperation with Azerbaijan in Afghanistan as part of a new platform.

"The Azerbaijani government is grateful to the NATO's support for projects on mine clearing implemented in the country," Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov said.

He said 3.1 million euros were allocated for the implementation of the first stage of the project, for the second stage - 1.8 million euros.

U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar said the U.S. will support the efforts of the ANAMA for mine clearance and security in the next two years. 23 square kilometers area within the project on clearing of Jeyranchol area.

He noted that as a result of cooperation with ANAMA, 173 mines and thousands of unexploded projectiles at the territory in 19 square kilometers were found and defused.

Morningstar underlined the significant role of the strong cooperation in the implementation of the project.

"The Azerbaijani government's support to the project and financing half of its cost contributes to the success of the project," he said.

He also expressed gratitude to the NATO's Partnership for Peace Trust Fund for the efficient and professional implementation of the project.

"Azerbaijan will complete clearing areas near the front line of mines and unexploded ordnance in the next three years," ANAMA's Director Nazim Ismayilov told reporters.

He said that along with the territories liberated from Armenian occupation, ANAMA carries out clearing work at former military ranges and military bases from the Soviet times.

Ismayilov underscored that operations in Azerbaijan continue successfully and without losses. ANAMA operations are carried out by national experts, he added.

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