NATO Preparing New IPAP Plan for Azerbaijan

"NATO's role in forming the geopolitical situation in the South Caucasus and surrounding regions," was the theme of an international conference held on Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Azerbaijan and the Embassy of Romania, the NATO Project Coordinator Azerbaijan.

“The cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO is developing dynamically and is one of the priorities of the foreign policy of the country,” said Elnur Aslanov, head of the Department of Political Analysis and Information Support of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan. He noted that Azerbaijan plays an important role as a transit country in the carriage of goods for NATO troops in Afghanistan.

 "About 30% of cargo for NATO troops is transported through Azerbaijan. After the withdrawal of these forces, Azerbaijan will participate in the strengthening of state institutions in Afghanistan and rebuilding the country," said Aslan.

In January-August 2,200, wounded and ill troops were transported from Afghanistan via Azerbaijan. "Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of NATO and this cooperation will continue. Cooperation now covers reforms in defense and security sector, eliminate and prevent security risks, including terrorism, the proliferation of cyber and energy security, cooperation in emergencies and other areas," said Daniel Ciobanu, Romanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan.

He noted the importance of the military forces of Azerbaijan to NATO standards.

Other speakers noted in their speeches the contribution of Azerbaijan to NATO operations and emphasized the role of ANAMA (National Agency for Mine Action.) ANAMA carries out a number of functions, including mine removal and training.

"In May of this year in Baku, a large conference on the security of NATO and Azerbaijan will remain an important transit country for NATO," said Khazar Ibrahim, the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to NATO. 

NATO's mission to assess the implementation of IPAP (Individual Partnership Roadmap) will arrive in Azerbaijan next week. By the end of 2013, a plan for cooperation in the IPAP for the next two years will be drawn up. Steffen Elgersma, an employee of the department of political affairs and political security of NATO, joined the conference from Brussels via the Internet, and said that the new IPAP plan will determine strategy for future cooperation and the mechanisms of the plan.

The concept of the national security policy adopted in Azerbaijan in 2007, confirmed integration with NATO, he said. NATO spokespeople noted the importance of accelerating reforms in the field of defense and security, strengthening the activity of the Defense Ministry and bringing peacekeeping forces in line with NATO standards.

"The word ‘reform’ causes panic among some of our partners. However, reforms provide for the elimination of threats," said Elgersma.

Speakers also pointed to the need to resolve the Karabakh conflict to establish security in the region, said former Turkish Foreign Minister, Hikmet Cetin. According to him, Turkey wants to revive the negotiations with new initiatives.

"The Karabakh conflict opens the door to new threats. The international community believes that if no blood is shed that is good. However, this does not mean the settlement. United States, Russia and Turkey should make a new contribution to the settlement of the conflict," said Cetin.

In turn, the representative of Azerbaijan's Presidential Administration Aslanov said that the Karabakh conflict could not be resolved due to Armenia's unconstructive position.

"Passive positions of the OSCE Minsk Group, the indifference of the international community create obstacles to the settlement, which hinder the development of the region," said Aslanov. -03C06-  


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