Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 15
By Saeed Isayev - Trend:
During the 20 years of membership to the Partnership of Peace program, relations between Azerbaijan and NATO have elevated to the level of strategic cooperation, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on Jan. 15 at a press conference held in Brussels.
"I am very glad to be back to NATO and continue our discussions on the strategic cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan. This is my fifth visit to the NATO headquarters, and it shows the level of cooperation," Azerbaijani president said.
Ilham Aliyev reminded about the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's visit to Azerbaijan in 2012.
"Today, we continue our discussions on a broad range of issues, issues related to our participation in ISAF. We will continue to be committed to security of Afghanistan in the post-2014 period. Today almost 40 percent of non-lethal cargo to Afghanistan goes through the territory of Azerbaijan, and the route through Azerbaijan is the most reliable and safe," Ilham Aliyev said.
He added that Azerbaijan will continue its efforts in order to promote peace and security in the region.
"Our participation in peacekeeping operations of NATO is an important part of our cooperation," Azerbaijani president added.
President Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan cooperates with NATO on counter-terrorism, and the country is grateful to the organization for supporting the reforms of its armed forces, as they are being transformed to NATO standards.
"Also, with the assistance of NATO, including financial assistance, Azerbaijan implements projects of de-mining in the country," the president noted.
Ilham Aliyev said the sides also discussed the situation in the Southern Caucasus.
"The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is a major threat to stability and security of the region. We need to find the soonest resolution to the conflict, based on the international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions," President Ilham Aliyev said.
He said that less than a month ago Azerbaijan signed an agreement on Shah Deniz-2 project, which is considered to be the "project of the 21st century".
"The construction of the transportation infrastructure to bring Azerbaijani gas to Europe starts soon, and Azerbaijan takes responsibility and initiative to implement this project on time. That will be the project of energy diversification, energy security, energy cooperation, and it will be the biggest infrastructure project of Europe. And this project needs additional coordination of the participating countries and companies," Ilham Aliyev stressed.
So cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan successfully continues, he said.
"Today, with the Secretary General, we have discussed the future prospects of this cooperation, and how we can deepen this cooperation, to find new forms for our relationship in the future. We also want to be a close and reliable partner for NATO in the future. I am sure that will be the case," President Aliyev added.