YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative to South Caucasus Robert Simmons told a press conference Wednesday that NATO did “not approve the military rhetoric of Azerbaijan, which has become more frequent recently,”
“NATO does not want to be directly involved in the regulation of the regional conflicts, we do not have intention to be active participants in the negotiation process,” added Simmons at the joint press conference with Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian.
“We have always said and I repeated it in Azerbaijan the Alliance believes that the sides must find solution only in a peaceful way, through negotiations,” he said.
Simmons said that NATO has good relations with all the South Caucasian countries, developing cooperation according to the interest of each country.
Oskanian said that there was no intention of changing the format of the Minsk Group, adding that the issue of Karabakh’s participation in the negotiations was always being discussed and the aim was to revert to the pre-1997 format, under which Karabakh participated in the Minsk Group processes.
Simmons also said that Armenia-NATO relations were comprehensive and were not limited only to the cooperation in the defense sphere.
Oskanian said that the Individual Partnership Action Plan program was a guideline for deepening the cooperation with the Alliance. “The spirit and the word of the document are being carried out in all directions, the results are seen, the cooperation will continue developing and expanding,” the minister said.
Simmons expressed the willingness of the Alliance to continue the political dialogue. He said that he was very glad that parliamentary elections in Armenia passed successfully and expressed hope that the next elections will also be organized with the same spirit. He said NATO aimed at deepening relations with Armenia more.
Speaking about Armenia-Iran relations NATO official said “Our issue refers to the nuclear program of Iran which is subject of discussion in the Security Council and to the possible punitive measures towards Iran. We do not see any problem when any country develops its economic relations with Iran. We understand Armenia’s difficult situation and efforts directed towards ensuring energy. There is no problem in it.”
Armenian Foreign Ministry press service told Armenpress that during the meeting between the two leaders the minister first of all underscored the importance of conducting regular political consultations with the Alliance over foreign policy and security issues.
Afterward the sides exchanged thoughts over the implementation of Armenia-NATO cooperation program IPAP. The special representatives highly assessed Armenia’s efforts in the implementation of the program as well as the mission of the Armenian peacekeepers in Kosovo.
Oskanian stated that the program served as a mechanism of promotion of bilateral cooperation with the NATO member countries.
During the meeting Simmons also referred to the issues on regional security, NATO-Russia dialogue, peacekeeping activities of the alliance etc.