TODAY.AZ / Politics

Robert Simmons: "NATO is ready to assist Azerbaijan on defence reforms"

20 September 2006 [14:36] - TODAY.AZ
"Azerbaijan continues the defence reform efforts it has committed itself to through the Individual Partnership Action Programme (IPAP)."

"As partner of NATO participating in the IPAP, Azerbaijan has agreed to pursue a wide range of reforms towards more transparency and democratic control of its defence establishment," NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia, Robert Simmons told in exclusive interview.

Mr.Simmons said meeting these objectives will provide more transparency in the region and build confidence with other countries, "The Alliance would welcome if Azerbaijan would step up the reform efforts it has committed itself to in the IPAP".

"NATO is ready to assist Azerbaijan in meeting its reform objectives for more effective and transparent budgeting of its defence establishment. Azerbaijan has signed up to these goals in the framework of the the IPAP and NATO is looking forward to support Azerbaijan in meeting these goals," the Special Representative said.

As for Azerbaijan's integration into NATO, Simmons said this is not being discussed at the moment.

"However, defence, institutional, and political reforms in the framework of the IPAP will serve to bring Azerbaijan forward on its chosen path towards European and Euro-Atlantic structures and institutions."

NATO official also said Azerbaijan's IPAP contains ambitious objectives and there remains a lot to do, APA reports.

"The IPAP agreed between Azerbaijan and NATO foresees wide-ranging defence and institutional reforms, with particular focus on a better and sounder system of defence planning, budgetary transparency, and democratic control of the armed forces. NATO is ready to assist Azerbaijan on all these reform efforts. Meeting the goals of the IPAP will draw Azerbaijan closer to Euro-Atlantic structures and institutions," he underlined.


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