Azerbaijani President attends ISAF meeting (UPDATE)(PHOTO)
Editor's note: photos added
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the nations contributing to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Lisbon, AzerTAj state news agency reported Saturday.
The Azerbaijani President met with world leaders before the meeting.
The event, which saw participation of Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon among others, was opened by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
"Today marks the beginning of a new phase in our mission in Afghanistan," said the NATO Secretary General.
"We will launch the process by which the Afghan government will take leadership for security throughout the country, district by district, province by province. The direction, starting today, is clear: towards Afghan leadership, and Afghan ownership."
President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the meeting. The Azerbaijani leader called his country`s cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance "beneficial".
The President said Azerbaijan was active in NATO`s Partnership for Peace Program and Individual Partnership Action Plan. President Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan was closely involved in NATO`s global peacemaking operations. The President said Azerbaijani peacekeepers were making military and civil contribution to NATO`s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Following the meeting, the Heads of State and Government had a joint dinner.
President Ilham Aliyev attended the dinner.
ISAF is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan. There are currently 48 countries contributing to ISAF. A company of 90 servicemen of Azerbaijani Armed Forces is serving within the ISAF.
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