Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan.31 / Trend T. Konyayeva /
Azerbaijan is a country, whose close cooperation with
NATO is welcomed by the Alliance, Romanian ambassador to Azerbaijan Nikolai Ureke said at the winter session of the NATO International School.
"Azerbaijan is a country, close cooperation with which is welcomed by NATO," Ureke said.
Relations between NATO and Azerbaijan began in 1992 when Azerbaijan joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. The cooperation has developed steadily after Azerbaijan's joining the Partnership for Peace Programme in 1994.
In addition to supporting the reforms, one of the important goals of NATO's cooperation with Azerbaijan is to develop ability of the country's armed forces to cooperate with NATO member countries' forces in peacekeeping operations and crisis response operations. Since 1999, the Azerbaijani military contingent has provided support for the NATO peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, and since 2002 - in Afghanistan.
Ureke said that actually country expresses its desire to join NATO, and the organization decides to accept it or not, but regarding to Azerbaijan, the case is somewhat different.
Romanian Embassy as NATO's representative office in Azerbaijan has two goals, he said. First is to acquaint Azerbaijan with the organization's activities and goals, and second - to support closer cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan.
One of the key areas of cooperation is improving access to information and increasing public awareness on NATO and the benefits of the Alliance's cooperation with Azerbaijan.
In 2006, Azerbaijan and NATO officially opened the Euro-Atlantic Center in Baku, which serves as a main center of information about the organization.
Since 2003, NATO has been involved in funding a summer school in Baku. The program was expanded each year, and as a result, the NATO International School in Azerbaijan (NISA) was created in 2005. Workshop topics included issues of transatlantic energy security and regional security.
"Over the past two years, NISA became the most active instrument of NATO in Azerbaijan, whose work is very important for understanding the Alliance's role," Ureke said.