Azerbaijan not to join NATO

IANS

Baku, May 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Azerbaijan will join neither NATO nor the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), but is prepared to cooperate with both, a presidential aide said.

"As Azerbaijan has been participating in NATO's Partnership for Peace programme since 1995, we envision our future security model within the framework of the Non-Aligned Movement," said Ali Gasanov, head of the presidential department for socio-political issues.

"Therefore Azerbaijan will neither be a member of NATO nor the CSTO, while cooperating with both."

That does not mean Azerbaijan will not alter its position in the future, he added.

"If Azerbaijan's national interests require membership of those organisations, the country could become a member of NATO or even the CSTO - or remain neutral," Gasanov said.

Cooperation with the European Union is Azerbaijan's conscious choice as it is interested in promoting European values in the country, he said.

"Our future path is integration with European nations," he said.

The CSTO's current members are the former Soviet states of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. In December 2012, Uzbekistan officially suspended its CSTO membership.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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