Remarks by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the EAPC in Foreign Ministers Session

Remarks by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the EAPC in Foreign Ministers Session

Brussels, December 9, 2004

Mr. Chairman,

First of all I would like to express our appreciation for bringing to Ministerial discussion the issues of the South Caucasus and Central Asia.

By taking decision at the Istanbul Summit on refocusing Alliance's interest towards the South Caucasus and Central Asia, NATO and Partner Nations have made another crucial step in building common indivisible Euro-Atlantic security.

To achieve this goal, we should develop robust political dialogue between Allied and Partner Nations built upon the joint comprehensive assessment of the security situation in the region, which will promote NATO's objectives and meet security concerns of the Partner Nations.

In support of this dialogue the role of PFP is important as never before. NATO's assistance in developing security institutions of the Partner Nations and in increasing their capabilities for more interoperability with NATO Nations will have significant returns for the whole Euro-Atlantic area.

Security cooperation between NATO and Partners in the South Caucasus will enhance the prospects for tackling the complex problems of the region. The threats and risks in the region are deeply rooted in and interconnected with the ongoing conflicts, which represent a long-term challenge to our efforts to promote security and stability in the whole Euro-Atlantic area.

Territorial acquisitions and ethnic cleansing are incompatible with principles and ideas of peace, democracy, stability and regional cooperation. Transfer of settlers into the occupied territories runs counter to sincere and serious negotiations.

Despite continued occupation of its territories Azerbaijan is standing for the peaceful settlement of the conflict with Armenia and is ready to go on with substantive peace talks based on the framework of the so called Prague process.

Azerbaijan believes in the restoration of the peaceful coexistence of both Azerbaijani and Armenian communities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. To achieve this goal strong political and practical support on the side of international community will be needed.

Mr. Chairman,

We are aimed at closer bilateral cooperation with NATO based on well-identified and mutually shared security interests. Partnership between Azerbaijan and NATO in the framework of Individual Partnership Action Plan will serve as solid basis for building effective interaction on the defense and security as well as for fighting terrorism, proliferation of WMD and other challenges.

Azerbaijan has proved its strong political will to actively contribute to the common security by joining NATO's operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as international coalition in Iraq. Our country also provides considerable support and resources for the global counter-terrorist operations.

For further developing military interoperability and capabilities for joint peace support and crisis management operations, we would seek more practical and technical support from NATO on implementation of our Partnership goals within Planning and Review Process and Operational Capabilities Concept.

There has been very good progress on cooperation not only in the military sphere. Border security, science, environment, civil emergency and public affairs represent new rapidly developing areas of partnership between Azerbaijan and NATO. All these areas are incorporated into the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) of Azerbaijan developed together with NATO International Secretariat. This plan should serve as a primary instrument for bilateral dialogue and cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO. All these issues of bilateral cooperation have been discussed in depth with Secretary General of NATO during his successful visit to Azerbaijan at the meeting with the Governmental Commission on Azerbaijani-NATO partnership.

We highly value NATO's determination to promote closer partnership with Azerbaijan and firmly believe in the great benefit of productive partnership and cooperation that will strengthen security in our region, making the South Caucasus peaceful, stable, prosperous and democratic part of the Euro-Atlantic area.

Thank you.

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