President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received on February 16 a delegation led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Department of Defense Joseph Dunford.
The successful development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and the U.S. in the military, political, economic, energy security, defense, security fields was stressed during the meeting. Dunford highly appreciated Azerbaijan’s role in the international peacekeeping operations and the country’s significant contribution to cargo transportation to Afghanistan.
The Defense Minister of Azerbaijan Zakir Hasanov also received a delegation led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Department of Defense Joseph Dunford. The Minister of Defense talked about the successful development of military relations between the two countries. He highlighted the contribution of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces to the Resolute Support Mission within the framework of NATO cooperation.
In turn, Joseph Dunford said that he was aware of the successful reforms carried out in the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. He stressed the high professionalism of Azerbaijani peacekeepers in Afghanistan and the country’s participation in the fight against terrorism.
Expressing satisfaction with his first visit to Azerbaijan, the guest expressed deep gratitude to the head of the Azerbaijani state for the efforts in holding the bilateral meeting of the U.S. and Russian military chiefs in Baku and hospitality.
Defense Minister of Azerbaijan Zakir Hasanov then met with a delegation led by the Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov. Minister of Defense said that the friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries based on mutual trust and the bilateral ties were constantly developing.
Referring to the military-political situation in the region, Colonel Hasanov said that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict poses a threat to regional stability and stressed the importance of the resolution of the conflict within the framework of international law
In turn, General Garasimov expressed deep gratitude to the head of the Azerbaijani state for the efforts in holding the bilateral meeting of the U.S. and Russian military chiefs in Baku.
Baku has not been chosen accidentally to host the meeting of the Chiefs of General Staffs of Russia and the United States. Baku becomes the center where the leading geopolitical players reach agreement. The current meeting can have an impact on the settlement of global and regional problems.
Sergey Markov, co-chair of the National Strategic Council of Russia, political scientist considers holding the meeting of chiefs of US, Russian general staffs in Baku demonstrates that Azerbaijan has become a platform for international dialogue. He added that it also emphasizes the importance Moscow attaches to Baku as its ally.
The long-awaited meeting of the Heads of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the US and Russia is held in Baku, Azerbaijan and this is a clear evidence of the international weight of Azerbaijan, as well as the credibility of Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan, said Political Scientist Sergey Markov. This is also a proof of the fact that both Russia and the US are considering their relations with Azerbaijan as good and positive. It is also the evidence that Russia, which offered Azerbaijan as the place of the meeting, has strategic relations with Azerbaijan, Sergey Markov underlined.
He also considers that these meetings are important in terms of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“I think that these meetings also draw attention to the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, because over the last years, Azerbaijan managed to accustom the entire world to the idea that when it comes to Azerbaijan, its overarching priority in the foreign policy is the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict via including the Nagorno Karabakh. Therefore, this matter is also remembered. And I think that the touristic potential of Azerbaijan is also attracting attention, but in the first place, this meeting underlines the weight of Azerbaijan and credence of its president Ilham Aliyev,” Political Scientist Sergey Markov noted.
According to Elkhan Alasgarov, the Head of Baku Network’s Expert Council, Baku is now becoming the center of the settlement of global geopolitical problems of the world’s leading countries. This is a huge credence. Success of negotiations will provide Russia with a unified platform to fight with global terrorism and to mitigate the situation in the region and to some degree, our major problem – Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which we require to resolve, Elkhan Alasgarov concluded.
The subject of the discussions between the American and Russian military officials is about the situation in Syria, with the aim of demarcation and avoidance of clashes there, because aircrafts of the US, Russia, Turkey and Syrian are flying there, said Political Analist Rasim Musabeyov. Generally speaking, to prevent possible incidents. Geographically Azerbaijan is in the close proximity of the region, however is not taking part in the processes from any side. In this regard, Azerbaijan is a close and neutral platform, he concluded.
Commenting on the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that a meeting between Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov in Baku was important. Stoltenberg said he welcomed attempts by “NATO allies on a bilateral basis” to “develop lines of communications and develop the dialogue with Russia.”