Relations with Azerbaijan

  • Last updated: 04 May. 2017 09:54

Azerbaijan contributes to NATO-led operations and cooperates with the Allies and other partner countries in many other areas. Support for the country’s reform efforts is a priority.

Arrival Left to right:  President Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev of Azerbaijan shaking hands with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Highlights

  • Relations with NATO started when Azerbaijan joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1992) and the Partnership for Peace (1994).
  • The country’s programme of cooperation with NATO is set out in an Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is agreed every two years.
  • NATO and Azerbaijan cooperate on wide-ranging democratic, institutional and defence reforms.
  • Azerbaijan has long been an active contributor to NATO-led operations – it deployed troops to Kosovo in the past and continues to support the mission in Afghanistan.
  • Key areas of cooperation

    Security cooperation

    Thanks to regular participation in Partnership for Peace (PfP) activities, Azerbaijan has been able to contribute actively to Euro-Atlantic security by supporting NATO-led peace-support operations.

    From 1999 to 2008, troops from Azerbaijan were part of the NATO-led operation in Kosovo (KFOR).

    Azerbaijan actively supported the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from 2002 to the end of the NATO-led operation in 2014. The country currently supports the follow-on mission to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces (Resolute Support Mission). Azerbaijan also contributes to the NATO-ANA (Afghan National Army) Trust Fund.

    Azerbaijan has declared a number of units available for PfP activities, on a case-by-case basis. These include infantry units, combat support and combat service support units and two medium transport helicopters. The Internal Troops, in cooperation with NATO, are also developing a police support unit to be made available for NATO-led operations.

    Azerbaijan contributes to the fight against terrorism through its participation in the Partnership Action Plan on Terrorism (PAP-T). This includes sharing intelligence and analysis with NATO, and cooperating with the Allies on enhancing national counter-terrorist training capabilities and improving border and infrastructure security. Information exchange through NATO’s terrorist threat intelligence unit is being developed. Azerbaijan has also established an international Anti-Terrorism Training Centre at the Academy of the Ministry of National Security.

    Azerbaijan aims to improve maritime security and its capabilities to reduce illegal activities in the Caspian Sea in cooperation with some NATO member countries and some regional partner countries. NATO nations also support efforts to improve border security.

    NATO has no direct role in negotiations aimed at resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which are being conducted in the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group. However, NATO takes an interest in this process and encourages all sides to continue their efforts aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Peaceful resolution of conflicts is a core value of NATO, and is one of the core commitments that all partner countries commit to when joining the Partnership for Peace.

    Defence and security sector cooperation

    Defence and security sector reforms are crucial to the development of Azerbaijan and its goal of achieving Euro-Atlantic standards as well as its increasing Euro-Atlantic cooperation. This is an area in which NATO and individual Allies have considerable expertise which Azerbaijan can draw upon. A key priority is working to strengthen democratic and civilian control over the armed forces. NATO is also supportive of the wider democratic and institutional reform process underway in Azerbaijan.

    With NATO advice, Azerbaijan has developed strategic documents on defence and security and made improvements in areas such as defence planning and budgeting.

    NATO and individual Allies continue to assist Azerbaijan in developing selected units so they are interoperable with those of the Allies. Azerbaijan’s participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP), since 1997, has been instrumental in this process.

    Consultations are ongoing on Azerbaijan’s military education structures and methods, since the Ministry of Defence is interested in adapting these to meet NATO standards. Within and alongside the PARP process, NATO and Azerbaijan are cooperating on reorganising units in accordance with NATO standards and on improving the command and control (C2) capabilities of each of the armed services and improving logistics.

    NATO and Azerbaijan started work on a jointly agreed Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) in 2008. The programme is focused on the Military College of the Armed Forces and aims to develop teaching methodology and curriculum development with the intent to pursue the integration of NATO standards into training and education. DEEP is also supporting a newly established language training centre.

    NATO and the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action continue to cooperate on the demilitarization of unexploded ordnance. In 1991, a major explosion at a former Soviet munitions facility in the Agstafa region spread unexploded ordnance over a large area. With technical and financial support from NATO, more than 5.68 million square meters of the contaminated area was cleared, on both the surface and in the subsurface. In addition to this, some 640,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance were cleared. The five-and-a-half-year project was completed in June 2011.

    A further project of this kind was launched in 2012 to clear a former Soviet live-firing range in the Jeyranchel region of unexploded ordnance, which presents a serious humanitarian, socio-economic and environmental threat to the local population. A total of 42 square kilometres has been cleared. A feasibility study is underway for a possible third phase to clear another 20 square kilometres.

    Civil emergency planning

    In cooperation with NATO and through participation in activities organised by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), Azerbaijan is developing its national civil emergency and disaster management capabilities. Azerbaijan’s special search-and-rescue platoon has participated in several exercises organised by the EADRCC. Civil emergency planning experts are providing advice to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency Situations on a number of issues, including organisational issues, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defence. Azerbaijan is developing two units (search and rescue and CBRN) to be on high readiness and ready to be deployed on disaster relief operations.

    Science and environment

    Azerbaijan has been actively engaged within the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme since 1995. The country has several ongoing activities with the SPS Programme – leading areas for cooperation include cyber defence training, energy and environmental security and disaster forecast and prevention.

    The NATO SPS programme has also supported a project for the conversion of stocks of mélange – a highly toxic and corrosive rocket fuel oxidiser, formerly used by Warsaw Pact Countries – into a harmless chemical (2006-2008).

    Public information

    Another key area of cooperation is to improve access to information and increase public awareness of NATO and the benefits of NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation.

    Since 2003, NATO has been co-sponsoring a summer school in Baku, which led to the establishment of the NATO International School in Azerbaijan (NISA) in 2005. NISA continues to be an active and productive forum on international security issues for students from Azerbaijan and beyond, organising NATO-related conferences and workshops twice a year. The Diplomatic Academy of Azerbaijan (ADA) is also very active in promoting cooperation with NATO.

    Visits to NATO Headquarters of opinion formers from Azerbaijan take place on an annual basis.

  • Framework for cooperation

    Cooperative activities, reform plans and political dialogue processes are detailed in Azerbaijan’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is jointly agreed for a two-year period.

    Azerbaijan also cooperates with NATO member states and other partner countries in a wide range of other areas through the Partnership for Peace (PfP), the Planning and Review Process (PARP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC).

  • Milestones

    1992:  Azerbaijan joins the newly created North Atlantic Cooperation Council, renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997.

    1994:   Azerbaijan joins the Partnership for Peace (PfP), a programme aimed at increasing security and defence cooperation between NATO and individual partner countries.

    1997:   Azerbaijan joins the PfP Planning and Review Process.

    1999:   Azerbaijan sends a unit to support the NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.

    2001:   Azerbaijan hosts a multinational PfP military training exercise "Cooperative Determination 2001".

    2002:   Azerbaijan sends a unit to support the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

    2003:   Azerbaijan is connected to the Virtual Silk Highway project, aimed at increasing internet access for academic and research communities.

    2004:   At the Istanbul Summit, Allied leaders place special focus on the Caucasus – a special NATO representative and a liaison officer are assigned to the region.

    2004: President Aliyev presents Azerbaijan's first Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) to NATO in Brussels.

    2005:   Azerbaijan begins its first IPAP with NATO.

    2006:   The Euro-Atlantic Centre (NATO information centre) is officially opened in Baku.

    A NATO PfP Trust Fund project is launched to clear unexploded ordnance from a former military base at Saloglu, Agstafa district.

    The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, visits NATO Headquarters.

    2008:   Azerbaijan withdraws troops from KFOR but increases its military contingent in Afghanistan to about 45 personnel.

    2009:   President Aliyev visits NATO Headquarters and meets with the North Atlantic Council.

    The Azerbaijani military contingent in Afghanistan is doubled to about 90 personnel.

    2010:   Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov visits NATO Headquarters.

    2012:   President Ilham Aliyev visits NATO Headquarters.

    May 2012: The President of Azerbaijan attends a meeting at NATO's Summit in Chicago, joining counterparts from countries that are supporting the NATO-led stabilisation mission in Afghanistan.

    September 2012: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visits Azerbaijan.

    January 2014: The President of Azerbaijan visits NATO Headquarters for talks with the Secretary General and to address the North Atlantic Council.

    September 2014: The President of Azerbaijan attends a meeting at NATO's Summit in Wales, joining counterparts from countries supporting the NATO-led stabilisation mission in Afghanistan.

    January 2015: Following the completion of the ISAF operation in Afghanistan in December 2014, Azerbaijan starts contributing to the follow-on NATO-led mission (“Resolute Support”) to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions.

    April 2016: In cooperation with NATO, Azerbaijan hosts a first expert workshop to support curriculum development to improve the teaching related to the civilian oversight of the armed forces in Afghanistan.

    July 2016: The President of Azerbaijan attends the session on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Warsaw.