Secretary General starts South Caucasus visit in Baku, welcomes NATO’s long-standing partnership with Azerbaijan

  • 17 Mar. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 17 Mar. 2024 18:25

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Baku on Sunday (17 March 2024), kicking off a three-day, tri-nation tour of the South Caucasus. Meeting with President Ilham Aliyev, the Secretary General welcomed Azerbaijan’s long-standing collaboration with the Alliance, saying he looked forward to further strengthening the partnership.

Joint press statements by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev

Mr Stoltenberg welcomed the opportunity to discuss energy security, saying: “energy matters for our security and I welcome that Azerbaijan is developing closer and closer ties with several NATO Allies.” He further pointed to a track record of work on issues of mutual concern and thanked Azerbaijan for its contributions to NATO-led operations and missions – including in Kosovo and Afghanistan – since Azerbaijan joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace in 1994. The Alliance and Baku have also cooperated through NATO’s Science for Peace and Security programme on counter-terrorism and cyber security. 

On the situation in the South Caucasus, the Secretary General underlined that “peace and stability is not only important here but for security more broadly”. He said: “Armenia and Azerbaijan now have an opportunity to achieve an enduring peace after years of conflict.”  He added: “I can just encourage you to seize this opportunity to reach a lasting peace agreement with Armenia”. On Ukraine, Mr Stoltenberg welcomed the much-needed support provided by Azerbaijan, and called on all countries in the region to step up: “more support is needed because the situation in Ukraine is extremely difficult.”

The Secretary General called the upcoming COP29 global climate summit in Azerbaijan an important milestone: “It is important for everyone concerned about climate change but also important for our security because those issues are closely interlinked.”

On Monday, the Secretary General will meet Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Defence Minister Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov. He will then travel to Tbilisi for meetings with Georgia’s leadership. On Tuesday, Mr Stoltenberg will meet with Armenia’s leadership in Yerevan.