NATO appoints new envoy in South Caucasus (UPDATE)
EDITOR's NOTE: details about Special Envoy's role and NATO's cooperation with the South Caucasus added
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 19 / Trend E. Ostapenko /
Robert Simmons will end his activity as NATO's special envoy in Central Asia and the Caucasus by early December, the NATO Press Office told Trend.
Simmons has held the post for the past seven years. He will be replaced by current NATO spokesman James Appathurai.
The decision was made in early November and approved by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
"This is the periodic replacement of NATO's senior political representatives after a certain period of time," the press office said.
The decision to create the post of Special Envoy in the strategically important regions of Caucasus and Central Asia was adopted at the Istanbul Summit in June 2004. Robert Simmons was the first person who was appointed to this post.
Role of the Special Envoy is to support working contacts with regional leaders to develop the goals of NATO in the region. They include contributing to regional security and further promote NATO's cooperation programs.
It is still unknown when Appathurai will pay his first visit in his new post to the South Caucasus.
Georgian media outlets reported earlier that the NATO special envoy would be Oana Lungescu.
NATO's cooperation with South Caucasus states - Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia - is mainly carried out within the programs "Partnership for Peace", "Individual Partnership Action Plans" and "Planning and Review Process". These documents define the objectives and intentions of the partner countries to hold consultations with NATO on reforms in the spheres of defense, security and military policy.
South Caucasus's cooperation with NATO is regarded as a step towards European integration and ensuring security and stability in the region.