Updated: 09-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


5 Dec. 2003


Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Foreign Ministers' Session

Dear Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prague Summit has delivered generously to get NATO ready for new, more complex missions in dealing with new threats and challenges and opened up new possibilities for Partner Nations to engage in NATO-led operations and activities as well as to modernize their national security and defense institutions.

The building of strong partnership at the level of integration with NATO is very responsible choice. Deeper and wider engagement of the Alliance on the periphery of the Euro-Atlantic area, creating of "stretch capability" puts on the agenda the demanding issues of political unity, interoperability, reliable links and communications with partners. Partnership is becoming a core element of NATO's activity. Investment into the security of Partner Nations, making them capable to join NATO operations will have full returns into overall Euro-Atlantic security.

For all our outstanding plans to be accomplished we need more assistance in expertise, training and equipment. We again reiterate our proposal to NATO to establish NATO/PfP Cell in Azerbaijan. We see the rationale for having such office in facilitation of different programs of cooperation and assistance within the whole spectrum of issues, including IPAP and PARP, defence and security sector reform, anti-terrorism and border management, civil emergency planning.

The participation in IPAP helps Azerbaijan to review all its undertakings on the broad range of issues pertaining to political, legal and economic background of security and defense. Meanwhile we would ask our NATO partners to take a due account of specific situation within which Azerbaijan has to carry out reforms and sensitivity for us of all issues relating to defense.

Speaking about new threats it would be more appropriate for me to start from our region. Azerbaijan has to deal with broad variety of challenges and threats to its own security. We have to consolidate our scarce resource not only to withstand against continuing occupation of 20% of our territory by Armenia but in addition to cope with imminent threats of terrorism, international crime and trafficking of arms and drugs, proliferation of WMD and their components in our region, which partly originate from ungoverned occupied territories.

Unresolved conflicts are major source of instability in the region and represent the main threat to independence and democratic development of states. Instability can't be confined to the regional borders. Occupied and uncontrolled areas create a breeding ground for terrorism and international organized crime. In order to effectively deal with those threats and risks emanating from the conflicts our political commitments to norms and principles of international law

and first of all to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states in the region need to be clearly reiterated. The progress made on the settlement of crises in Balkans helps us to come to important conclusion that inviolability and mutual recognition by regional states of international borders is major precondition and the critical legal basis for the conflict resolution as well as for post-conflict rehabilitation and regional cooperation.

Broad based and focused cooperation between NATO and PFP Nations is indispensable for dealing with such threats to security as regional conflicts, terrorism and linked with it international organized crime, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illegal migration and trafficking of arms and drugs. After Prague Summit EAPC and PFP mechanisms became more responsive to security concerns and interests of Partner Nations situated in volatile and sensitive regions although the main focus was on Afghanistan.

Still much more efforts and activities should be invested into the cooperation on combating terrorism to make it preventive and operationally effective. The information sharing and joint assessment of challenges and risks stand as tasks yet to be fully realized. The strengthening of border controls and effective border management is of particular preventive significance for Azerbaijan who has to confront the illegal migration, smuggling and trafficking cases on daily basis. It would be useful to start working on development of common border management standards within PFP and to define appropriate partnership goals to be fulfilled for effective functioning of border guards within the whole Euro-Atlantic area. Another important sphere of cooperation is the protection of infrastructure of critical importance including the safety and security of supply routes for energy resources, which contains in essence the two-fold task of prevention of attacks and elimination of consequences. On both mentioned areas we plan to organize the relevant workshops in Baky and I invite allies and partners to take an active participation.

Mr. Chairman,

Recent attacks in Istanbul demonstrated that terrorists still preserve the capability to constantly develop their global network, using almost the same patterns of conduct in the different regions of the world. Attacking the selected sensitive civilian and military facilities, the terrorists try to undermine, in particular, the modernization and democratic development of Moslem states. These facts emphasize the vital significance for NATO and Partner Nations to successfully accomplish their missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, which now represent the major battle-ground for the peaceful and democratic future of the whole Middle East. Azerbaijan stands ready, in addition to its participation in military operations to make its adequate contribution to democratic reconstruction in this region.

In conclusion, I would like to join the other speakers in thanking Lord Robertson for his leadership and personal contribution to the development of partnership.

Thank you.

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