Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 33

NATO secretary general Javier Solana completed his tour of four CIS countries in Baku, where he conferred February 13-14 with the Azerbaijani leaders and addressed the parliament. Solana pointed out — as he had in Chisinau, Tbilisi, and Yerevan — that an enlarged NATO will provide greater security for all countries, including non-members. President Haidar Aliev stressed — as had Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze — that the region and its individual countries ought to be treated as a part of the European economic and security space. The president also proposed that NATO play its part in providing security for the transportation of Azerbaijani oil to Western markets and in promoting a political settlement of the Karabakh conflict. On the latter point, Solana deferred to the OSCE.

Aliev, Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov, and Defense Minister Safar Abiev reportedly discussed with Solana the expansion of Azerbaijan’s participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, including the upgrading of an Azerbaijani military unit to qualify it for participation in joint exercises. The spirit of mutual understanding on this visit resembled the one in Tbilisi and contrasted to the one in Yerevan. (Turan, Interfax, AP, February 14)

Progress in Tajikistan Hostage Crisis.