Brussels, December 7, 2016
Colleagues and friends,
Azerbaijan, as a reliable partner of the Alliance and friend of brotherly Afghanistan, is committed to continue its significant contribution to the Resolute Support Mission beyond 2016 by providing troops, multimodal transit, training and financial assistance. My country has several times made substantial donations to the Afghan National Army (ANA) Trust Fund. We will continue to support this Fund in line with the pledges we made. Furthermore, after conclusion of the Resolute Support Mission, my country envisages the contribution through the enhanced Enduring Partnership.
Moreover, Azerbaijan remains committed to a long-term political partnership and a practical cooperation with Afghanistan through bilateral cooperation and the relevant multilateral and regional formats. In September of this year, President Aliyev has approved Azerbaijan-Afghanistan agreement on multimillion assistance mostly in security areas which is being actively implemented now. In addition, in line with the desired outcomes of the Resolute Support Mission, Azerbaijan is ready to train Afghan cadets in military educational institutions of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the framework of the bilateral cooperation.
I also would like to inform that just three days ago my country assumed the co-chairmanship of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul process for 2017. In this function, we will seek close coordination and consultations with all stake-holders, most notably with NATO, with a view to facilitating comprehensive and coherent support by the international community to Afghanistan.
Furthermore, we support Afghanistan on its path of reforms towards integrating into regional and global economy. As being a critical piece of the New Silk Road, Azerbaijan will connect Afghanistan and Europe to support Afghanistan’s sustainable future. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad and a new seaport Alat in Azerbaijan will further link Asia to Europe, subsequently helping to bring lasting peace and development to Afghanistan and beyond.
Last but not least I would like to thank Ambassador Aramaz for his very dedicated and fruitful work as NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative. I also wish success to Ambassador Zimmermann of Germany in all his endeavors.