Address by H.E. Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, NATO RS Ministerial, Antalya

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

Dear Minister Chavushoglu and Minister Rabbani,

Colleagues and friends,

I think I will speak everybody’s mind thanking our fabulous Turkish hosts for hospitality in the marvellous Antalya and I extend our appreciation to the Turkish government and my friend Minister Chavushoglu.

For me it is a double pleasure to be here, since I am in brotherly Turkey and our troops at the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) also serve together with the Turkish contingent.

Azerbaijan contributes significantly to the RSM by providing troops, multimodal transit, training and financial assistance. Azerbaijan has already made one million Euros donations to the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) Trust Fund in 2012, and will further donate 2 million Euros to ANA Trust Fund by the end of 2017.

But experience of the last decade demonstrated that military assistance alone is not enough for establishing sustainable peace in Afghanistan. Therefore, my country’s contribution to the stability of Afghanistan goes well beyond of our involvement in NATO operations. We support Afghanistan on its path towards self-reliance by enhancing practical contributions in the areas of education and training, infrastructure development, investments, and financial aid. 

ADA University in Azerbaijan holds annual governance trainings for Afghan officials in addition to NATO trainings at its facilities, our Mine Agency provides mine-awareness projects, Ministry of Emergency is about to sign a memorandum to allow Afghan nationals to have a full 4-year education at its Academy, and we are building a school in Afghanistan. My government covers all expenses.

We also need to help Afghan government in its vast reform agenda. Transport infrastructure is a very important part of it. We should link Afghanistan and Europe in the shortest way possible. New Alat Sea Port on the Caspian shore of Azerbaijan and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, linking Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, will bring its added-values in this regard and beyond, restoring the ancient Silk Road. 

Last, but not least, future of Afghanistan will also very much depend on the neighbors and we should all help to make Afghanistan story a successful one.

Thank You.

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