TEAS highlights Azerbaijani–NATO co-operation in the European Parliament

Press Release: On 26 November, the Brussels office of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) organised a high-level seminar in the European Parliament (EP), attended by several members of the FriendsofAzerbaijan Groupin the EP.

The aim of the meeting was to exchange information and ideas concerning Azerbaijan’s NATO commitment and to highlight the main challenges for the mid-term future. Azerbaijan ranks amongst NATO’s most reliable and committed partners, and is currently involved in providing support for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. This underlines the importance Baku attaches to transatlantic co-operation.

The host, Katarina Nevedalova MEP (S&D, Slovakia), commented: “During the past few years, many MEPs have become aware of developments in the South Caucasus and particularly in Azerbaijan. It is a real honour for me to participate in this dialogue and facilitate information exchange between Europe and Azerbaijan. Today, we are placing emphasis on a topic that is possibly lesser-known – that of EU–Azerbaijani rapprochement.”

The seminar initially concentrated on the NATO perspective, and then outlined Baku’s position towards Azerbaijani–NATO co-operation.

H.E. Khazar Ibrahim, Head of the Azerbaijani Mission to NATO, outlined the current relationship, saying: “NATO and Azerbaijan are actively co-operating on democratic, institutional and defence reforms. During the past decade, they have also focused on such areas as civil emergency planning, scientific exchange, environmental co-operation and public information. Azerbaijan is perceived as one of the most constructive partner countries to NATO.”

He continued: “Azerbaijan’s dialogue with NATO is about more than a purely political commitment regarding the delivery of human and logistic support to various missions. It is about bridging the South Caucasus and the world. Azerbaijan is legally and morally engaged in participating in future challenges, and remains committed to NATO ambitions.” Ambassador Ibrahim also gave a clear picture on Azerbaijan’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO, which will be effective for the next two years.

In their comments, H.E. Fuad Isgandarov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Belgium and the EU, and Inese Vaidere MEP (EPP, Latvia) acknowledged the links between Azerbaijan’s Euro-Atlantic co-operation and EU security policy. Ms Vaidere said: “Azerbaijan is seeking to achieve Euro-Atlantic standards and to draw closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions.”

Dr Roman Huna, Head, TEAS Belgium concluded: “One of the most important priorities of TEAS is to effectively inform the European public about Azerbaijan and its relevance to Europe. NATO ranks amongst one of the foremost international institutions where Azerbaijan has demonstrated its reliability and constructive attitude towards co-operation. Azerbaijan’s current contribution towards the NATO commitment in both Afghanistan and in Kosovo during the 1990s has been greatly appreciated by the international community. Today’s event reiterated the importance of multilateral dialogue at a time when international security remains high on the political agenda.”