New NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia pays his first visit to the South Caucasus
Last week, the new NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, Mr. Javier Colomina, travelled to the South Caucasus, visiting Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia to introduce himself in his new capacity. He discussed regional security issues with high-level civilian and military officials, took stock of NATO’s relations with these important partners and shared views on future political dialogue and cooperation, especially in the context of the ongoing preparations for the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid.
The Secretary General’s Special Representative expressed appreciation for Azerbaijan’s support to NATO in Afghanistan, and specifically for the role played by Azerbaijan units in supporting the evacuation efforts of Allied and partner personnel and Afghans at risk, from Kabul airport, this past August. He listened to views on the challenges faced by Azerbaijan following the 44-day war. He also reviewed current NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation, including the resumption of cooperation with the Azerbaijan authorities within the Planning and Review Process partnership framework.
In Georgia Mr. Colomina expressed support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and highlighted the importance of moving reform forward in key areas, including judiciary reform, oversight of the security sector, and electoral reform. He praised Georgia for its continued contributions to Euro-Atlantic security and for its support to NATO operations, including with regard to the evacuation efforts from Kabul this Summer, as well as Georgia’s constructive role in the region. He also visited the Administrative Boundary Line where he reiterated NATO’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
In Armenia the Secretary General’s Special Representative spoke with his interlocutors on ways to further political dialogue and sustain NATO-Armenia practical cooperation in various domains, such as civil emergency, peacekeeping operations, and Women, Peace and Security. He listened to views on the challenges faced by Armenia following the 44-day war. He also recognized Armenia’s troop contributions – including in Kosovo – and its valuable participation in different NATO’s partnership-frameworks, such as the Planning and Review Process, the Defence Education Enhancement Programme and the Building Integrity Programme.
The position of the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia was established to place a special focus on these two strategically important regions for the Atlantic Alliance, following the decision taken by NATO Allies at the Istanbul Summit in June 2004.