Baku May Stop Backing NATO Afghan Mission Amid Campaign Against Azerbaijan
REUTERS/ Christian HartmannPolitics00:03 10.09.2017(updated 11:31 10.09.2017) Get short URL51401171
The official newspaper of Azerbaijani parliament announced that Azerbaijan may suspend its support for NATO mission in Afghanistan.
BAKU (Sputnik) — Azerbaijan may suspend its support for NATO mission in Afghanistan in response to a media campaign and sanctions against Baku, the official newspaper of Azerbaijani parliament reported Saturday.
The news come against the background of recent publications made by the Western media about Azerbaijani leadership and an amendment to the US Fiscal Year 2018 State and Foreign Operations Bill imposing sanctions on some Azerbaijani officials.
Azerbaijan provides essential support for supplies to NATO mission contingent deployed in Afghanistan by opening its air space for NATO and providing access to facilities. Azerbaijani soldiers have been serving in Afghanistan along with NATO troops since 2002. Therefore, Baku can suspend cooperation with the West in the military-strategic areas, counter-terrorist operations and suspend its support for NATO mission in Afghanistan, in the first place, the newspaper reported.
Baku has been developing strategic partnership with the United States and the European Union despite the pressure from some regional powers. Sanctions and other wrongful actions may force Baku to review its foreign policy and choose one-sided approach, according to the newspaper.
Currently, a total of 90 Azerbaijani servicemen, two military medics and two officers of Azerbaijan’s engineering troops participate in NATO’s Resolute Support mission. Azerbaijan also allowed NATO to carry its non-combat cargo for mission in Afghanistan via Azerbaijan airspace and use its airports. About 40 percent of all NATO cargo pass through Baku on the way to Afghanistan.
On September 4, The Washington Post newspaper slammed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for “bribing” some journalists by providing them with flats and putting other journalists such as Director of Turan News Agency Mehman Aliyev in jail for articles criticizing the authorities. On the same day, The Guardian newspaper reported that Azerbaijani leadership was behind a large laundry scheme, which had been allegedly used by Baku for bribing European politicians. In addition, the money was reportedly used by Azerbaijani elites for acquiring luxury goods.
Following the revelations about imprisoned journalists, US Senator Richard Durbin proposed an amendment to the State and Foreign Operations Bill on Thursday banning Azerbaijani officials involved in the arrest of Mehman Aliyev from entering the United States, which was approved by US Senate’s Appropriations Committee on Friday.