NATO representative: Alliance now approaches partners as members – “Azerbaijani troops too can receive training at the center to be created in Georgia”

Baku: “A NATO training-assessment center to be created in Georgia can open up new cooperation opportunities for Azerbaijan as well,” said Mr. William Lahue, NATO Liaison officer for the Caucasus.

Mr Lahue said Georgia is in close cooperation with NATO, and this is a step aimed at the country’s accession to the alliance.

“Russia has already proved to be a threat. This causes some changes in NATO operations, bringing about changes to principles of working with our partners. NATO is now approaching its partners as member countries. This is new development for NATO. Another crucial aspect for the region is NATO’s Substantial Support Package.

Many of its aspect are secret. However, a NATO-Georgia joint training-assessment center will be created. Georgia will work toward compliance of our partners with NATO standards. It also opens up new cooperation opportunities for Azerbaijan. Tactical exercises will begin this year. Next month we will inform about its structure. The US will play an important role in this process. This country has been holding exercises in Georgia for more than 10 years,” the NATO representative stressed.

Lahue said that the other issue within the Substantial Support Package is the establishment of the institute of defense.

“Its function and topics of trainings are under discussion. This will create new opportunities for the prospects of cooperation between Georgian and Azerbaijani armed forces. Azerbaijan will send military to take part in the exercises there”, he noted.