NATO: Azerbaijan is a country of pivotal importance for Europe's energy security (UPDATE)
Details added (first version was posted at 17:46)
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 15
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
Azerbaijan is a country of pivotal importance for Europe's energy security and to peace and stability in the Caucasus. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a joint press point with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Brussels on Wednesday.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: "Azerbaijan is also a valuable and important partner for NATO. We appreciate the steadfast support provided by your troops in Afghanistan. We also appreciate the political support to NATO operations, through over-flight and transit lines. And we are grateful for the generous contributions you are making to the training of the Afghan security forces".
According to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, he strongly welcomes Azerbaijan's decision to continue supporting Afghanistan in the new mission that NATO is planning to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces after 2014: "This shows your clear commitment to contributing to Euro-Atlantic security".
Secretary General said that continuing reform is also of importance to Azerbaijan, and NATO will continue to assist Azerbaijan: "I believe we can deepen our dialogue and cooperation, across the spectrum of our partnership".
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: "This month we mark the Twentieth anniversary of our Partnership for Peace programme. Our Partnership for Peace is founded on a commitment to democratic values and principles. Azerbaijan has been a staunch member of the programme since its beginning".
Secretary General underlined that Azerbaijan and NATO have a strong framework for dialogue and cooperation. "And today we agreed that we will continue to build a solid, long-term partnership".
He said NATO and Azerbaijan already have well-functioning partnership: "But I also see potential for further developing our partnership. It is important that our armed forces can operate and work together so we can jointly do peacekeeping operations".
Secretary General said that continue reforms of armed forces is also important and, NATO has expertise in that. He said Azerbaijan and NATO have cooperation in this direction.