"Azerbaijan has its unique orientation: Baku is not an ally of Russia, but it does not seek membership in NATO."
Report says, NATO's Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Security Policy James Appathurai, told Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
"We have excellent cooperation with Azerbaijan, and it is a good example that the country hosts meetings between our military leadership and the Russian top military leadership on its territory. We are developing important cooperation in this direction."
Commenting on the issue of the Alliance's cooperation with the South Caucasus, the Deputy Assistant Secretary-General noted that NATO is working more actively in this region: "All three countries of the region – Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia – seek to strengthen relations with NATO. Georgia has clear aspirations for membership in the North Atlantic Alliance, and we have a very active presence in this country. We want to help Georgia to maintain its political independence, sovereignty, and achieve its goal. People in this country want this, and we respect their position.
The example of Armenia visibly refutes the argument, as we often hear from Moscow that NATO wants to drag this country into an alliance, to "pull" it out of Russia's neighbors. The current Armenian leadership and all previous leaders of this republic will confirm that we have never been imposed on Armenia. Armenia is part of the CSTO, it is a military ally of Russia, it cooperates well with Moscow, but this does not impede our good cooperation with Yerevan. "