Azerbaijan, Baku, March 9 / Trend U. Sadikhova /
If Azerbaijan is interested in NATO membership, we could work on it, U.S. representative to NATO, Jennifer Davis told Trend .
"Of course, we are also willing to get acquainted with what Azerbaijan wants, because our partnership depends on what a partner wants," Davis said, commenting on Azerbaijan's possible joining the alliance.
According to her, NATO works evenly and closely with all countries in the region, including Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. "We want to conduct democratic reforms, reforms in the defense sector through our partnership. Azerbaijan's contribution in these programs means that Azerbaijan is making its contribution to regional peace," Davis said. "Azerbaijan is a very important strategic partner for NATO. NATO helps everyone for partnership and membership. Our doors are open for membership", she said.
According to her, a stable and democratic state is already a peace-loving one. "I would like to add that the program of General euroatlantic integration is a positive event for the South Caucasus. So, we want to work closely with all our partners in the field of military cooperation in Afghanistan. We also believe that this partnership is very beneficial for the political dialogue," the U.S representative said.
Fundamentals of cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO were laid by signing of the framework document - the program "Partnership for Peace" on May 4, 1994. Azerbaijan was one of 27 states - OSCE members. It was one of the first countries which became a participant of this program.
An official document was signed within the program "Partnership for Peace" to determine specific areas of interaction in April 1996. Currently, Azerbaijan fulfills nearly 50 partner tasks in accordance with this program.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree "Approval of the Individual Partnership Action Plan between Azerbaijan and NATO" on August 3, 2005.
Now the cooperation is implemented within the second phase of the "Individual Partnership Action Plan between Azerbaijan and NATO".
The United States want the OSCE Minsk Group to be able to achieve success in establishing peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Davis said. "But NATO is not involved in this process. But we fully support the actions of the Minsk Group. We want it to be successful, especially given that the United States is one of the Minsk Group's co-chairing countries," Davis said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.