Minister Discusses Possibility of NATO Bases

BAKU (Interfax)–It is possible that Azerbaijan will join NATO and allow NATO bases on its territory–Azeri Foreign Minister Vilayet Guliyev has said.

However–such a question can be only raised after the Azeri Armed Forces are brought into line with NATO standards–he said.

Cooperation with NATO will progress gradually–the minister said. There are various forms of such cooperation now–including participation in the Partnership for Peace Program. Late last year Guliyev suggested opening a NATO information office in Baku.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson is expected to visit Azerbaijan in September 2000–the minister said.

As for the initiative for a south Caucasian security pact–the minister said they have linked that question to the Karabakh settlement.

"Until a just settlement is reached–it is impossible for Azerbaijan to take part in a pact with Armenia," he said.

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