Azerbaijan, Baku, 23 April / corr. Trend I. Alizade/ The appointment of a civilian as a minister of defense or as a deputy minister of defense is impossible at present and this issue can be considered only after Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is solved. "A civilian can not run a military sphere as Azerbaijan is in military situation and Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not been solved yet," Siyavush Novruzov, the member of the permanent parliament commission on security and defense and the member of Azerbaijani delegation in NATO Parliament Assembly said to Trend on 23 April.
The assessment mission of NATO is in Azerbaijan at present to see whether country meets Alliance's standards. Organization believes that it is important to increase the number of civilians in Azerbaijani Defense Ministry and to appoint civilians as a defense minister or deputy defense minister.
" Azerbaijan has not taken commitment before NATO to appoint a civilian as a defense minister or deputy defense minister. NATO is well aware that it is impossible to appoint a civilian as defense minister in a country which is in military situation," Novruzov said.
The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.
According to Novruzov, official Baku has fulfilled commitments taken before NATO and Alliance highly appreciates it. Azerbaijan is cooperating with NATO and it is taking part in the organization's programs more than the other post-soviet countries.
Azerbaijan had been cooperating with NATO since 1994 within program on Partnership for Peace. In 2005, Azerbaijan and Alliance signed Individual Partnership Action Plan.