On September 20, First Vice-president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva met with a delegation led by NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.
Noting that Azerbaijan has been attaching great importance to cooperation with NATO, Mehriban Aliyeva said our country had participated in various events of the Alliance. She noted that, starting from 2002, peacekeepers of Azerbaijan have been serving in Afghanistan side by side with NATO military men, and since January 2018, Azerbaijan brought the number of Azerbaijani military men in the Support Mission up to 120, having increased it by 30 percent. Our country has been also providing financial support to the national army of Afghanistan, assisting them with solution of logistics and transport issues, as well as organizing trainings for the Afghan army’s staff.
Expressing gratification with successful advancement of the high-level dialogue between NATO and Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva underscored that the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in the NATO Summit in Brussels in July this year and his meeting with the Alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg served the advancement of relations between our country and the organization. She said that the recognition of our country as an independent state by NATO member countries is highly appreciated in our country. It was emphasized that Azerbaijan welcomes NATO’s great attention to gender issues, women, peace, and security matters. Saying, “It is very pleasing that a conference dedicated to this theme took place in Azerbaijan in recent days”, - Mehriban Aliyeva mentioned that gender equality in our country is one of the priority issues in the state policy. It was noted that one of the steps taken by the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was granting women the right to vote a hundred years ago. Saying, “We are proud that back early in the 20th century, Azerbaijani women secured this equality before a number of developed countries did”, - Mehriban Aliyeva brought to attention that after regaining our state independence, women actively participated in the public and political life of the country, and that 17 percent of MPs is comprised of women, expressing a hope that these indices will increase in future. She also mentioned that 1600 women are serving in the National Army, and that women have centuries long been treated with great respect, and this tradition is continuing today.
Emphasizing that Azerbaijan was a peace-loving country building relations with its neighbours and other countries based on mutual respect, Mehriban Aliyeva brought to attention that, however, we have been suffering from Armenia’s occupation policy for already 25 years. Daghlyg Garabagh, which has been recognized by the international society as our territory, and 7 surrounding districts are under occupation as a result of this policy; over one million people have been leading the life of a refugee or IDP, hundreds of Azerbaijani women were killed, taken hostage during the conflict, over 600 people, including women and children, savagely killed during the Khojaly tragedy. It was also noted that although the Security Council adopted four resolutions 25 years earlier on withdrawing the occupational forces from the Azerbaijani territories without any preconditions, this occupational policy still continues. Underscoring that we are a supporter of solution of the conflict in a just manner, abiding by the international legal norms and principles, Mehriban Aliyeva emphasized that Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity should be restored, refugees returned to their native lands, and, thereafter, peace can be secured in the region. Saying that peace and security are key factors defining mutual understanding between peoples, Mehriban Aliyeva brought to attention that NATO’s humanitarian activities are highly appreciated in Azerbaijan, and we are ready for close cooperation with the organization in this sphere.
Saying, “I assure you that we have noted your thoughts”, Rose Gottemoeller expressed satisfaction with her visit to Azerbaijan, underscoring that the conference on the theme of “Women, peace and security” in Baku took place on a significant for our country days – on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Parliament. Talking about the beauty of Baku, the guest expressed satisfaction with the achievements reached by our country.