Azerbaijan's strategic location is advantageous for NATO: Romanian Ambassador
Azerbaijan, Baku, May 12 / Trend , A.Badalova/
Azerbaijan's strategic location may be beneficial for NATO in case of joining the alliance, Romanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Nikolai Ureki said at the conference "European security and NATO," on Tuesday.
"One of the advantages is the country's strategic location on the South Caucasus, as an important transit route," Ureki said.
Azerbaijan has a geo-strategic position, and can become an important transit point for shipments of non-military goods of NATO in Afghanistan to conduct terrorist operations of the alliance.
In addition, the country is of interest to NATO on energy security in Europe, said Ureki. Azerbaijan is one of the largest oil and gas producers, and has the potential to become a transit country, particularly in transportation of energy resources from Central Asia to Europe.
The main advantage of Azerbaijan to NATO will be national security, which the alliance offers to all its members.
However, any country must meet three basic criteria in order to acquire a membership in the allince:
- Military criterion - country must have armed forces, which meet relevant standards;
- Political criteria - country must meet all necessary requirements of democracy;
- Economic criteria - existence of a free market.
NATO-Azerbaijan ties were established in 1992 after Azerbaijan's accession of to the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (renamed into Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council - EAPC in 1997). The cooperation was enhanced following the Azerbaijan's accession to the Partnership for Peace Program in 1994. In addition to supporting the reforms, one of the key goals of NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation is to develop the ability of the country's armed forces to interact with the NATO forces in peacekeeping operations and crisis response. Since 1999, Azerbaijani troops have been providing support to NATO peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and since 2002 - in Afghanistan.
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