On Tuesday, July 1st, the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center hosted a public forum on the present and future relationship between NATO and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The panelists included H.E. Khazar Ibrahim, Head of the Azerbaijani mission to NATO; Dr. Brenda Shaffer, Visiting Researcher at CERES, Georgetown University; and Mr. Eric Rubin, Deputy Assistant Security for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State. The event was introduced by Atlantic Council CEO and President Fred Kempe, and moderated by Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center Deputy Director David Koranyi.

The participants discussed Azerbaijan’s importance in the Caucasus and its evolving relationship with NATO. The conversation highlighted Azerbaijan’s concerted efforts in recent years to demonstrate its value as a NATO partner country. The speakers discussed Azerbaijan’s contributions to Alliance missions, such as personnel contributions and de-mining operations in Afghanistan, as well as enhanced cooperation in critical energy infrastructure protection, as the Southern Gas Corridor shipping Azeri gas from the Caspian becomes a strategic asset for the West. The panel also elaborated on the development of interoperability with NATO alliance members and analyzed the political and security challenges in the South Caucasus in detail.