Italian ambassador: Azerbaijan-NATO partnership beneficial for country
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 23 / Trend T. Konyayeva /
The Azerbaijan-NATO partnership is beneficial for Baku, especially given the country's complex geographic location, Italian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mario Baldi said today.
"Azerbaijan is situated in enough of an unfavorable geographical location and is surrounded by fairly complex states such as Iran, Dagestan (Russia), and Georgia, which recently was at war, and Armenia, with which the country is in conflict," he said. "Therefore, relations with NATO are beneficial for the country."
Baldi made the statement during a meeting today with Western University students in Baku under the auspice of the "AmbassadorHour" project.
This question is not about Azerbaijan's entry into the alliance, but rather the partnership between the country and NATO, he said.
The foundation for cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO was laid through signing a program-document within the framework of the Partnership for Peace on May 4, 1994. Azerbaijan was one of 27 OSCE member countries to join the program.
In April 1996, an official document envisaging concrete directions of cooperation was signed within the framework of the Partnership for Peace. Now, Azerbaijan is fulfilling about 50 tasks in conformity with the program.
On Aug. 3, 2005, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the approval of an action plan on an individual partnership between Azerbaijani and NATO.