NATO unequivocally supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity

By: Sevil Mikayilova

NATO’s position on Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict significantly differs from that of other international organizations, head of the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to NATO, Ambassador Khazar Ibrahim said.

The alliance unequivocally supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Khazar Ibrahim said in his interview with Azerbaijani reporters in Brussels, AzerNews newspaper reported.

“NATO’s position on the conflict is reaffirmed in the alliance’s summits as well,” he said. “The basic principles of resolving the conflict were marked during the latest summit of NATO in Wales.”

Khazar Ibrahim said Azerbaijan and NATO have strategic relations and the country is featured as a valuable, reliable and active partner in the alliance’s documents.

The ambassador added that Azerbaijan is the active participant of the alliance’s peacekeeping operations.

NATO will start its operations in Afghanistan for rendering support to this country from January 1, 2015, he said, adding that Azerbaijan will support the trainings as part of these operations.

The diplomat said that the most part of relations between Azerbaijan and NATO covers cooperation within the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP). Azerbaijan intends to start implementation of the next stage of this plan, said Ibrahim.

Azerbaijan also closely cooperates with NATO in the field of energy security, the ambassador said. He went on to add that the country chairs the working group in the format of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council on the protection of energy infrastructure and fight against terrorism.

“We intend to get the maximum benefit from cooperation with NATO and continue cooperation at a high level,” said the diplomat.

Showing solidarity with the Afghan people and the international community, Azerbaijan since the first days joined the operation of the International Security Assistance Force (İSAF) in Afghanistan, he said. In 2009, the number of Azerbaijani troops in the ISAF forces in Afghanistan was doubled, and now their number amounts to 90, said Ibrahim.

He went on to add that the actual cooperation started with the training of Afghan specialists in mine clearing sphere. Preparatory work on start of activity of Azerbaijani military doctors in the Afghan hospitals, giving education to the Afghans at the Azerbaijan Medical University and so on is underway, the diplomat said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

SOURCE: AZER NEWS