By Sara Rajabova
Romanian Embassy has organized a roundtable on “Jeyranchel Clearance Project: current situation and perspectives” on July 16 in its capacity of NATO Contact Point Embassy to Azerbaijan.
The event was attended by the ambassadors, defense attaches and senior diplomats from embassies of NATO countries, as well as Japan embassy in Baku, officials from NATO Support and Procurement Agency and Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action.
Opening the event, Romanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Daniel Cristian Ciobanu highlighted that NATO-Azerbaijan partnership has a strategic value and is successfully developing.
He said Jeyranchel Clearance Project is an example of the enhanced cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan.
The aim of this NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund project is to clear the unexploded ordnances and mines from the former Soviet Army test and training range at Jeyranchel in north-western Azerbaijan.
Ciobanu underlined that Romania, which has been the second country in the world to recognize independence of Azerbaijan and established in 2009 a strategic partnership with Baku, actively supports the strengthening and deepening of NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation.
He added that Romanian embassy in Baku, which fulfills the mandate of NATO Contact Point Embassy in the Azerbaijan for the fourth time in a row, will continue its efforts for promoting the benefits of NATO-Azerbaijan partnership.
David Towndrow from NATO Support and Procurement Agency made an in-depth presentation of the Jeyranchel Clearance Project, which main goals are to make the area safe for local farmers and to foster local authorities’ development plans, principally for agriculture.
Towndrow said this project builds on previous clearance work done in Saloglu and contributes to developing a regional capacity in Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action.
He noted that phase I of the Jeyranchel project involved the clearance of 19 square kilometers of the western section of the range over 28 months (April 2012 – July 2014), adding phase II of the project started on July 8, 2014 and aims to clear 23 square kilometers of the central section of the range over 24 months. U.S. is the lead nation for this NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund project.
Samir Poladov, operations manager at Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action, presented the efforts made by the Azerbaijani side for the implementation of the Jeyranchel project as well as in other demining programs on the territory of Azerbaijan.
Gvantsa Kvinikadze from NATO Support and Procurement Agency focused on some technical details of the Jeyranchel Clearance Project.
Participants in the roundtable positively assessed NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation and the activity of Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action.
NATO and Azerbaijan are actively cooperating on democratic, institutional, and military reforms, and enjoy practical cooperation in various areas. The cooperation plan between Azerbaijan and the NATO is set out in the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) on Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan aspires to achieve Euro-Atlantic standards and get closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this regard, supporting reform in the security sector and establishing democratic institutions are the key elements of the NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation.