Azerbaijan, Baku, 24 June / Т corr S. Agayeva/ NATO supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.
"NATO supports territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and thinks Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict can be solved only within the framework of country's territorial integrity," Azerbaijan's permanent representative to NATO Kamil Khasiyev said to journalists in Baku on 24 June.
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.
"NATO's position on Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is unambiguous and it was confirmed at the last NATO summit in Bucharest," said Khasiyev. The document which was adopted at the summit stresses the conflicts going on in the region must be solved only within the framework of territorial integrity.
"NATO highly appreciates cooperation with Azerbaijan and thinks the country is achieving considerable success in implementation of its obligations," said Khasiyev.
Azerbaijan has been cooperating with NATO since 1994 within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program and is actively implementing military reforms to switch to NATO standards.
The foundation for cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO was laid by signing a program-document within the framework of the Partnership for Peace on 4 May 1994. Azerbaijan was the first amongst the 27 OSCE member countries to join the program. In April 1996, an official document envisaging concrete directions in cooperation was signed under the Partnership for Peace program. Now, through the program Azerbaijan is fulfilling about 50 tasks.
Experts think Azerbaijan will be the next after Georgia and Ukraine to nominate for NATO membership.
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