Azerbaijan is Committed to Partnership with NATO – Ilham Aliyev  

Azerbaijan is Committed to Partnership with NATO – Ilham Aliyev  

Azerbaijan is committed to partnership with NATO, President Ilham Aliyev said on March 17 after negotiations with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg.

Recalling the “more than 30-year” history of the partnership of Azerbaijan and NATO, he noted the peacekeeping operations of the alliance in Kosovo and Afghanistan. “For us it was an excellent experience, “said Aliyev.

He also pointed out the reform of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan and the modernization of its defense capabilities. Taking advantage of his right to self -defense according to the UN Charter, Azerbaijan restored its integrity.

“At present, we are in the active phase of peaceful negotiations with Armenia,” he added. Baku and Yerevan have already exchanged comments on the draft peace agreement seven times.

“Meetings between foreign ministers and deputy prime ministers on border delimitation show that there is a good opportunity to solve this issue. As I recently said, we are closer to the world than ever,” he emphasized.

The achievement between Azerbaijan and Armenia of the world will lead to serious changes in the South Caucasus. “This means that the long -awaited world will be established here,” Aliyev continued.

He said that he also discussed with NATO Secretary General “Energy Security issues”.

Azerbaijan supplies gas to 8 countries and six of them are members of NATO, two more states – NATO partners.

“I am sure that in the coming years the number of our partners will increase. The European Commission calls Azerbaijan a reliable partner and pan -European gas supplier. This is a great advantage and a great responsibility,” said Aliyev.

He also informed the Secretary General about the “Green” program of the transition of Azerbaijan in connection with the upcoming COP29 conference in Baku.

* * *

Secretary General starts South Caucasus visit in Baku

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Baku on Sunday (17 March 2024), kicking off a three-day, tri-nation tour of the South Caucasus. Meeting with President Ilham Aliyev, the Secretary General welcomed Azerbaijan’s long-standing collaboration with the Alliance, saying he looked forward to further strengthening the partnership.

Mr Stoltenberg welcomed the opportunity to discuss energy security, saying: “energy matters for our security and I welcome that Azerbaijan is developing closer and closer ties with several NATO Allies.” He further pointed to a track record of work on issues of mutual concern and thanked Azerbaijan for its contributions to NATO-led operations and missions – including in Kosovo and Afghanistan – since Azerbaijan joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace in 1994. The Alliance and Baku have also cooperated through NATO’s Science for Peace and Security programme on counter-terrorism and cyber security. 

On the situation in the South Caucasus, the Secretary General underlined that “peace and stability is not only important here but for security more broadly”. He said: “Armenia and Azerbaijan now have an opportunity to achieve an enduring peace after years of conflict.”  He added: “I can just encourage you to seize this opportunity to reach a lasting peace agreement with Armenia”. On Ukraine, Mr Stoltenberg welcomed the much-needed support provided by Azerbaijan, and called on all countries in the region to step up: “more support is needed because the situation in Ukraine is extremely difficult.”

The Secretary General called the upcoming COP29 global climate summit in Azerbaijan an important milestone: “It is important for everyone concerned about climate change but also important for our security because those issues are closely interlinked.”

On Monday, the Secretary General will meet Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Defence Minister Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov. He will then travel to Tbilisi for meetings with Georgia’s leadership. On Tuesday, Mr Stoltenberg will meet with Armenia’s leadership.