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Spotlight Article

Azerbaijan: Necessary to NATO

Azerbaijan America Alliance
September 08, 2014

 

The recent NATO summit in Wales highlighted the importance of partners outside the 28 member states that form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Alongside world leaders President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and President Hollande, were leaders of states who are less often recognized, but critical to global security and peace keeping efforts.

President Ilham Aliyev was one of these leaders. In an address to the NATO meeting on Afghanistan, The President highlighted Azerbaijan’s contributions:

"Azerbaijan's military personnel have been part of the ISAF contingent since its early days. Extensive training programs are conducted for Afghanistan's law-enforcement and government officials at different academies in Azerbaijan. A total of three million euros has been transferred into the Fund of Trustees of Afghanistan's National Army, while one million euros was spent on strengthening operations."

 

 

In addition to Azerbaijan’s support of peace keeping operations on the ground in Afghanistan, 40 percent of non-destructive goods intended for ISAF forces is provided by Azerbaijan. Since 2002 Azerbaijan has had peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan, a force which increased from 22 personnel to 90 personnel in 2008.

Azerbaijan has been a significant strategic partner for security efforts, but Azerbaijan is more than a cooperative neighbor. After the withdrawal of US troops at the end of 2014, Azerbaijan will be one of eight countries that will have a continued peacekeeping presence. Additionally, President Aliyev expressed hope that Azerbaijan’s international seaport and the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway link project will support trade and economic opportunities between Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has been a partner to NATO for twenty years, which represents the majority of Azerbaijan’s sovereign history. With such significant contributions, over so many years, a great debt is owed to the support Azerbaijan has unwaveringly offered NATO. It is fortunate that the recent NATO conference provided an opportunity to recognize the silent support system that makes NATO’s efforts possible.

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