Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov delivered a speech at the North Atlantic Council, the principal decision-making body of NATO at its headquarters within the framework of Azerbaijan-NATO meeting on May 31, 2016.
Noting that the political and military cooperation is developing between Azerbaijan and NATO member states on the basis of Framework Document of the Partnership for Peace and Basic Document of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Elmar Mammadyarov added that Azerbaijan is actively participating in the programs such as Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), Planning and Review Process (PARP) and Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) of NATO. Saying that the cooperation with NATO plays an important role in the reforms of the military and security sector of our country and becoming more interoperable with the armed forces of NATO states, E.Mammadyarov noted that Azerbaijani military officers are serving today at the headquarters of the Alliance as Partnership Staff Elements.
Mentioning Azerbaijan’s contributions to the Kosovo Operation (KFOR), as well as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan jointly with NATO countries to support the international peace and security, Minister briefed also about the development of relationship of Azerbaijan with Afghanistan on the bilateral basis.
Highlighting that Azerbaijan is building TANAP and TAP in cooperation with some NATO Member States, Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stressed the practical importance of regular critical infrastructure protection workshops within Azerbaijan-led Ad Hoc Working group at NATO.
Talking about the situation in the South Caucasus region, Minister E.Mammadyarov added that the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan have been violated for more than 20 years with 20 percent of its territory under illegal military occupation by Armenia and more than 1 million Azerbaijani people have undergone bloody ethnic cleansing in the seized lands.
Giving detailed information about the latest escalation in the frontline with the instigation and provocation of Armenia, Elmar Mammadyarov emphasized that the current status-quo based on the fact of occupation remains the main source of tension. Mentioning that all international community, including OSCE MG co-chairs accept the fact of unacceptability and unsustainability of the current status-quo, E.Mammadyarov stressed that in order to change the status-quo, the fact of occupation must be ceased and the armed forces of Armenia have to be withdrawn from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Elmar Mammadyarov said: “On May 16, Vienna meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan and Foreign Ministers of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries was convened, in June, we expect another meeting to make a tangible progress to change the status quo.”
Talking about Armenia’s threats against Azerbaijan with “dirty bombs” and its non-fulfillment of commitments taken under the international conventions on non-proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction, E.Mammadyarov underlined that the official Yerevan again pursues the deliberate policy of obstructing the negotiations process.
Reminding that according to the UN Charter and Helsinki Final Act, Armenia committed itself to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and internationally recognized borders of other states, to refrain from the threat or use of force against them, Minister emphasized that’s what Azerbaijan expects from Armenia to follow and from international community to demand.
Minister told that Azerbaijan highly appreciates NATO’s principled and consistent stance on this issue at its Summit Declarations.
At the meeting, the Permanent Representatives of NATO Member States to the North Atlantic Council made their interventions. Minister Elmar Mammadyarov answered the questions of Permanent Representatives of NATO Member States.