BAKU: NATO finalizing Azerbaijan partnership plan

NATO finalizing Azerbaijan partnership plan

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
Feb 10 2005

NATO Secretary General’s special envoy on South Caucasus and Central
Asia, Robert Simons, says he is pleased with the status of
NATO-Azerbaijan relations.

“I am very satisfied with the current level of ties between the
alliance and Azerbaijan”, he told a news briefing at the Foreign
Ministry on the results of his visit to Baku.
Simons said that NATO and Azerbaijan are co-operating extensively in
numerous fields. He added that work on the Individual Partnership
Plan has been completed, and its implementation will begin following
its approval by NATO.

Simons continued that he had met with Azeri officials dealing with
the document and discussed with them all matters relating to its
efficient realization. A NATO working group is due to visit Baku in
mid-February to clarify certain details of the mentioned Plan.
Simons added that while in Azerbaijan, he also met with his
colleagues to discuss the Upper Garabagh conflict. He said that he
had collected enough data on the matter and would submit a relevant
report to the NATO Secretary General.

NATO admission
Azerbaijan is not currently seeking membership to NATO, Deputy
Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said.
“Azerbaijan has not raised the issue of NATO membership yet. Baku
believes that bi-lateral co-operation is essential at this point.”
Azimov said Azerbaijan intends to continue its collaboration with the
alliance on the level of political dialogue.
Simons said that Azerbaijan’s admission to NATO depends on the
country itself. He noted, however, that Baku is currently not seeking
to become a NATO member state but is exploring opportunities for
deepening its partnership with the alliance.