Baku vows continuous support to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan

By: Sara Rajabova

Azerbaijan, which extends every effort to ensure peace and stability in the world, has vowed to continue its support to the peacekeeping mission of the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.

President Ilham Aliyev has approved the agreement on ensuring Azerbaijan’s participation in NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

The agreement was signed in an exchange of letters between the Azerbaijani defense minister and the NATO secretary general. The Azerbaijani parliament adopted the law on the agreement on September 30.

Azerbaijan’s partnership with NATO, which began in 1992, serves the country’s strategic goal of integrating into the Euro-Atlantic structures.

Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation has been built on the basis of mutual interests aimed at the elimination of instability, conflicts and threats posed to peace and security in the world. Azerbaijan reiterated its readiness to cooperate with NATO in areas such as security and defense sector reforms, developing military forces according to NATO standards, participation in NATO-led operations, energy security, as well as addressing emerging security challenges.

Azerbaijan participates in NATO-led peace support operations which are sanctioned by UN Security Council resolutions. Thus, Azerbaijani peacekeepers also participated in peacekeeping missions in Kosovo in 1999.

U.S. Ambassador to Baku Robert Cekuta has welcomed Azerbaijan’s long commitment to NATO operations in Afghanistan.

“The United States highly values Azerbaijan’s continued important role in peacekeeping operations, alongside NATO forces,” according to a message posted on the U.S. embassy’s Twitter page.

Cekuta welcomed the Azerbaijani president’s continued commitment to the NATO operation in Afghanistan.

Azerbaijan has been a member of the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan since 2003. The Azerbaijani peacekeeping contingent doubled in 2009.

Currently, some 90 Azerbaijani servicemen are part of those international forces securing safety in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan is also among the eight partner countries that have approved an extension of troops operating in Afghanistan.

Azerbaijan has also assisted in the transport of logistical supplies in support of NATO operations in Afghanistan.

Additionally, extensive training programs are conducted for Afghanistan law-enforcement and government officials at academies in Azerbaijan. A total of three million euros has been transferred into the Fund of Trustees of Afghanistan’s National Army, while one million euros was spent on strengthening operations.

Azerbaijan has shown continuous contributions and commitments to Afghanistan over the past 13 years.

Afghanistan, in turn, welcomed Azerbaijan’s contribution and commitment during these years.

“Due to the service of brave Azerbaijani peacekeepers, Afghanistan and the world will be a safer and better place,” Afghan Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohammad Taqi Khalili said earlier.

Azerbaijan’s continuous contribution to the peace and security within the NATO-led operation, as well as its strong commitment to combat terrorism throughout the world, has raised country’s role as a guardian of security.

SOURCE: AZER NEWS

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