NATO HQ Meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council

Dear Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we see off the last days of this century our present session gives us another opportunity to take stock of our cooperation within EAPC and PfP frameworks and to discuss its unique role for the Euro-Atlantic security.
Risks and threats that Euro-Atlantic community faces on the threshold of the new millennium require our joint and adequate efforts without setting geographic or other priorities and limits.

The value of practical cooperation between NATO and partner countries to achieve goals of building a free and undivided Europe could hardly be overestimated in this regard. The Alliance-led peace-support operation in the Kosovo region to which Azerbaijan has contributed is undoubtedly a vivid example of the genuine partnership.

The multiplicity and complexity of challenges that Euro-Atlantic security encounters necessitates the elaboration and development of joint crisis management capabilities. In the context of further evolution of the theory and practice of the NATO-led peacekeeping operations in the whole Euro-Atlantic area Azerbaijan welcomes further practical steps on the side of NATO to complete work on implementation of the Political Military Framework. We also appreciate progress achieved in realization of the Operational Capabilities Concept.

In light of the recent visit by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to NATO Headquarters I would also like to stress that Azerbaijan attaches importance to the development of inter-institutional cooperation between NATO/EAPC and OSCE. in particular in the fields of conflict prevention and crisis management.

As it has been the case in the past. with regard to the future agenda of EAPC, we reiterate our proposal to start discussing issues related to conventional arms control in the EAPC framework on a more regular and substantive basis. I presume that putting current problems in this field on the EAPC agenda would help better utilize our forum's potential and expertise as well as complement work done in other organisations and fora. In this regard Azerbaijan commends efforts of the ad hoc group on the challenges of Small Arms and Light Weapons whose success has highlighted the necessity of reinvigorating the EAPC discussions on arms control topic in general.
While aiming at progressive integration with NATO Azerbaijan intends to join the Membership Action Plan. With this goal in mind we look forward to having a suggested intensified bilateral dialogue with NATO.


Azerbaijan welcomes an increased interest of NATO to the region of South Caucasus. A number of activities, including the seminar on energy security in Baky have been held in the region as a follow-up to the work of the EAPC ad hoc group on the South Caucasus.

In the meantime, unlike the Balkans. where substantial progress has been made in bringing crises to the stage of comprehensive settlement. the South Caucasus still remains the region of unresolved conflicts and undermined security. In this context allow me to re-emphasize that only just, comprehensive and durable settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan will restore mutual trust between these two states and consequently pave the way to regional cooperation between all states in the South Caucasus.

In this respect we would appreciate if political, security related and crisis management issues, as suggested by Azerbaijan, could win the understanding in the group.

Due to its geographic location South Caucasus should serve as one of the building blocks of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture. Allow me to recall in this regard an initiative to develop Security and Cooperation Pact for this region as proposed by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Heydar Aliyev at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul in November 1999 and to reiterate our appeal to all interested partners to participate in the practical implementation of this idea.

With regard to the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. I regret to report lack of progress in achieving its settlement, while twenty percent of the territory of my country are still under occupation of armed forces of Armenia and one million Azerbaijanis still cannot return to their homes.
Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group continue to pay visits to the region. The Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia hold regular bilateral meetings with the aim to find a formula of durable settlement. But. all these efforts have not yet yielded concrete results.

Availing myself of this opportunity I would like to reconfirm the adherence of Azerbaijan to a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on the basis of conferring the highest degree of self-rule upon the Nagorno-Karabakh region within the Republic of Azerbaijan and co-existence of Armenian and Azerbaijani populations there.

In conclusion, allow me to emphasize that Azerbaijan proceeding from an assessment of the current situation in the South Caucasus counts on a considerable contribution by NATO to establishing security and stability in this vital region.

Thank you.