By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijani Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov and member of the Latvian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Raimonds Bergmanis have discussed the state of bilateral cooperation within NATO, the Defence Ministry reported.
At the meeting held on June 17, Hasanov noted that Azerbaijan and Latvia have been successfully cooperating in the military sphere both within the framework of NATO’s various programs and on a bilateral basis.
Bergmanis stressed that relations between the two countries are based on friendly ties. He noted that Latvia is Azerbaijan's important partner in the European security organizations, especially NATO.
Speaking at the Baku-based international conference “Azerbaijan's Contribution to the Euro-Atlantic Peace and Security" on June 16, Bergmanis said that Azerbaijan has been supporting peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan since 2002 and NATO is grateful to it for that.
"Latvia, being a NATO member, positively assesses the relations between Azerbaijan and NATO. Azerbaijan and NATO are actively cooperating in the field of military education. Azerbaijan has also carried out the reforms in the field of military education recommended by NATO. NATO and Azerbaijan are united by the action plan signed by the sides in the field of political cooperation," he said.
At the same conference, Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmat Hajiyev said that Azerbaijan welcomes NATO's active role in ensuring and maintaining international peace and security, adding that Baku “is committed to the fundamental principles of partnership within the existing agreements".
He also expressed Azerbaijan’s interest in cooperation with NATO.
“We want further expansion of political dialogue and cooperation with NATO. We highly appreciate durable dialogue with NATO countries. I visited NATO headquarters recently, we had interesting, important discussions, we informed on the situation after the conflict in the South Caucasus," he said.
Hajiyev noted that apart from political dialogue, Azerbaijan has successful practical cooperation with NATO. The presidential aide cited as an example Azerbaijan's contributes to ensuring peace and security in Afghanistan and stressed Azerbaijan's logistical support to NATO by air.
Hajiyev added that Azerbaijan will continue to make its contribution to the political dialogue between NATO and Russia.
Meanwhile, Security and Development Policy Institute Director and Co-founder Svante Cornell said that at present, relations between Azerbaijan and NATO are more important than ever.
“Azerbaijan is one of the most important countries in the region. Azerbaijan’s geographic location is very important and strategic. It makes the country one of the most important countries in the region," he said.
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