The history of Azerbaijan-NATO relationship dates back to March 1992 when Azerbaijan together with some Central and Eastern European countries, joined a newly established consultative forum – the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), which was transformed into the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council later in 1997.
The cornerstone of the substantive Partnership between Azerbaijan and NATO was laid down on 4 May 1994 when the late President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev signed the Partnership for Peace Framework Document.
Azerbaijan conducts political dialogue with NATO on a broad range of issues of common concern based on the PfP principles. Within the political dialogue, which is held in different formats and levels, the issues like partnerships, regional security, Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, operations, contribution to Afghanistan, energy security etc. are the matters of bilateral discussions and consultations. The high-level political dialogue based on mutual understanding promotes progress in the practical cooperation.
Azerbaijan actively uses relevant partnership tools to achieve goals reflected in the PfP Framework Document as well as bilateral cooperation documents. The PfP Presentation Document (1996), Planning and Review Process (1997) and Individual Partnership Action Plan (2004) Documents are the main national papers that define key principles and goals of Azerbaijan’s individual partnership with NATO. Azerbaijan reiterated in these documents its readiness for cooperation with NATO in the areas such as security and defence sector reforms, developing military forces according to NATO standards, participation in the NATO-led operations, energy security, civil emergency planning, addressing the emerging security challenges as well as science, environment and public diplomacy.
The Individual Partnership Action Plan, which Azerbaijan joined in 2004, enables to hold regular political dialogue, systematise bilateral cooperation as overarching tool and agree on new cooperation activities of mutual interest in a more flexible manner. Azerbaijan successfully completed the first (2005-2007), second (2008-2010) and third (2012-2013) cycles of its IPAP and is currently conducting the next cycle (2015-2016) of IPAP document.
In the framework of its Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme based upon the PfP Framework Document Azerbaijan has been participating annually on average 200 events. Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme enables Azerbaijan to benefit from various activities such as courses, exercises, conferences organised by the NATO Allies and some Partners.
Another important mechanism is the Planning and Review Process, which is designed to help Partners identify and evaluate forces and capabilities which might be made available for multinational operations and exercises in conjunction with NATO forces. It also helps Partners to develop defence planning practices using NATO experience. Azerbaijan has undertaken a number of ‘Partnership Goals’ on defence planning and preparation of forces for peace support operations.