Joint press statements

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev

  • 17 Mar. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 17 Mar. 2024 18:42

(As delivered)

Thank you so much, Mr President, President Aliyev. It’s great to be back in Baku. 

This is my first visit to Azerbaijan, to Baku, as Secretary General of NATO but it's not my first visit to Baku, because I had the privilege and the honour of coming here several times in the 1990s as Minister of Energy of Norway. I have fond memories of those visits, not least because then I saw the vibrant and strong energy sector being developed in this country and it's therefore great to be back also to have the opportunity to discuss energy security, because energy matters for our security and I welcome that Azerbaijan is developing closer and closer ties with several NATO Allies and that your country is playing a more and more important role in delivering gas but also in the future power, electricity, to key NATO Allies in Europe and therefore you play an important role for the resilience of our societies. 

I’m also welcome to be here in Baku as Secretary General of NATO because, as you mentioned, Azerbaijan is a long-time partner of NATO. We have worked together for many years. We appreciate very much your contributions to our KFOR mission in Kosovo, but also of course, your presence, your contributions to our mission in Afghanistan over many years, was extremely important. And you're absolutely right that one of the last troops to leave Afghanistan was actually Azeri troops because you were responsible for protection of the airport, which was a key task in the evacuation of the NATO presence in in Afghanistan. So this demonstrates that our partnership is about political dialogue but also about practical cooperation. And we welcome that. 

Then, of course, peace in this region is extremely important for the people, the countries in the region, but it also matters for the Black Sea region and for North Atlantic security, and therefore peace and stability is not only important here, but for security more broadly. Armenia and Azerbaijan now have an opportunity to achieve an enduring peace after years of conflict. I appreciate what you say about that you are closer to a peace agreement than ever before. And I can just encourage you to seize this opportunity to reach a lasting peace agreement with Armenia. 

Then it is also important to highlight that of course, when we look at the broader region, Ukraine is a Black Sea country. It's a country which is a partner of NATO, and Russia continues to conduct a war of aggression against Ukraine. NATO Allies are extremely concerned about the consequences of the ongoing war and NATO Allies provide support to Ukraine. I welcome the much needed support also Azerbaijan provides to Ukraine. Also when it comes to humanitarian aid, which is much needed, but more support is needed because the situation in Ukraine is extremely difficult. 

Then, I will say that we very much look forward to Azerbaijan hosting the next COP meeting. Climate change matters for security and therefore it matters for NATO, climate change is a crisis multiplier. And we see the effects of climate change all over the world, also here in Azerbaijan. And therefore the challenge is that the world needs energy, but at the same time, we need to fight global warming. We need to reconcile the need for energy and environment. And not only is Azerbaijan exporting natural gas but you are also now investing in alternative energies. You updated me on the great potential on also to what you do when it comes to building out hydro power, but also wind power, and solar power, and also connecting then your power production to the European market. So the COP 29 will be an important milestone. It is important for everyone concerned about climate change but also important for our security because those issues are closely interlinked. 

So thank you so much for hosting me and my delegation here tonight and tomorrow. I look forward to the meetings and the discussions.