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Strategically Important Partner

25 April 2024

 Igor Korotchenko, one of the leading Russian political analysts, the General Director of the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, shared his opinion about the visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Moscow, about the inter-state relations and situation in the region. 

Ц The visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Russia and his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin may be viewed as a big success. Once again, the parties emphasized complete match of the positions on a series of the key issues in the regional and a broader context. The political, economic, inter-regional, public and cultural ties between Russia and Azerbaijan are developing. Of course, part of the negotiations was not public. We can assume what the agenda was, including how to prevent penetration of Western countries into the South Caucasus region. Obviously, Moscow and Baku will be coordinating their efforts in this sphere. 

 The commitment to achieve unfailing implementation of all the clauses of the tri-lateral statement dated 10 November 2020 was confirmed again. This conclusion may be made based on certain comments provided by the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In any case, as to my understanding, Zangezur corridor remains one of the priority projects, and Moscow and Baku together will be pressing Yerevan to implement it. 

Special attention was paid to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of commencement of construction of Baikal-Amur railway (BAR). Putin and Aliyev met the participants of this grand project and emphasized the great contribution of Heidar Aliyev, the First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR at that time, to the successful implementation of this project and to the Soviet economy in general. On this position Heidar Aliyev supervised the most important infrastructure and transportation projects, including BAR. The day of commemorating this contribution is an element of the foundation of Russian-Azerbaijanian relations. 

 Overall, it was stated that the steady development of bilateral relations in all the spheres is based on the Declaration about the allied interaction between Russia and Azerbaijan signed in Moscow in 2022. This framework document provides a Roadmap for developing the relations between Moscow and Baku. Hence, today we are talking about the obvious strategic value of Azerbaijan for Russia as a partner and an ally.

 Today Azerbaijan is an influential and developed self-sufficient state with a very big weight in the international arena, and of course, the relations with such country represent a big value. Russia intends to actively interact with the Azerbaijanian party on the key challenges the modern world is facing. Baku has turned into one of the leading actors of global policy, and the strategic partnership with such country is definitely an important two-way process. In their comments President Vladimir Putin and his Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov emphasized a number of times the respectful and trust-based attitude towards Azerbaijan.

Ц How did the recently started withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping troops from the territory of Azerbaijan impact the bilateral relations? 

Ц There is no special impact, because this process is nothing but a reflection of the new military and political realities in the region. As is known, upon completing the anti-terrorist actions in Karabakh in September 2023 by the military forces of Azerbaijan, the separatist regime dissolved itself, and the Armenian population decided to abandon their homes and to leave for Armenia despite all the appeals of Baku to stay and to get integrated into Azerbaijanian life. That was their voluntary decision. This resulted in a new geopolitical reality: Azerbaijan reinstated its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and the mandate of Russian peace-makers was completed. The leaders in Baku and Moscow decided to withdraw it, and this is what we can see today. It should be emphasized that Russian peace-keepers performed their duties reputably and creditably.

Ц A short while ago, Baku and Yerevan agreed that four non-exclave villages would be returned to Azerbaijan within the framework of boundary delimitation. May we consider this success the sign of the peace treaty between the two countries to be signed soon?

Ц I do not think we need to expect the peace treaty to be signed soon. The liberation of those four villages is a significant, but yet only the first step within the process of demarcation and delimitation of boundaries. This process is progressing with very big difficulty. It is accompanied by the revanchist forcesТ activities in the political arena. Nevertheless, if the process is carried through to its completion, it will mean the beginning of the first practical moves to bring the situation in the region into the legal framework. 

We understand that Azerbaijan has won the 2nd Karabakh War and reinstated its territorial integrity and sovereignty, but it is important to formalize it from the point of view of international law by legally binding documents. The peace treaty will be one of such documents. But there is still a long way to go. Even though we can see already certain healthy judgments and responses by official Yerevan. At the same time, we all remember very well the hypocrisy of Armenian policy. Hence, there is a need to apply one well-known principle: Trust, but check you must. Of course, everyone is waiting for the peace treaty to be signed, but I donТt believe this process to be easy and painless due to a rather controversial stand of Yerevan. 

 In his speech at the international forum «—ќ–29 and Green Vision for Azerbaijan» President Ilham Aliyev claimed that such countries as France, India and Greece were actively pouring weapons to Armenia, and obviously not with the purpose to maintain peace and tranquility in the region, but to heat up the revanchist ambitions of Yerevan. So, there are divergent processes going on here, and there is the reality besides the will to sign the peace treaty. Hence, there may be numerous military and political surprises on the road to peace Ц on behalf of Armenia and other adversaries of Azerbaijan.

Ц Recently France recalled its Ambassador from Azerbaijan accusing Baku in unilateral actions harming the relations between the two countries. How can this move of Paris be explained?

Ц First of all, this is an ill-conceived and emotional escapade by President Emmanuel Macron associated with Paris losing the possibility to manipulate the situation in Azerbaijan and in the region in general due to skillful actions of the Security Service of Azerbaijan, who unveiled and neutralized the French intelligence residence (diplomats engaged in espionage) and agents (people recruited by diplomats).

 On the other hand, this is an indicator of the unfriendly position of Paris. It is known that during the preceding years France openly supported Armenia instigating Yerevan for military actions against Baku, pouring weapons to the Armenian army (and continues to do that without hiding), and organizing political provocations engaging the respective structures in the EU and Council of Europe. Respectively, France is the one to blame for the entire situation in the Armenian-Azerbaijanian relations.

Ц Can France expect the next steps to aggravate the inter-state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan even more?

Ц Well, Paris definitely will not go for breaking diplomatic relations, because in reality it will mean declaring war. Also, let us not forget about active participation of French business in Azerbaijan economy, especially in some energy projects. That is why breaking diplomatic relations will mean a headshot for France. 

 At lot will depend on the scope of Western assistance to Armenia, because the situation is changing in real-time mode. It is clear that Yerevan has gone through change of partners, but de-jure it still not formalized. Armenia has moved under the patronage of France, the US and the EU in general. Yerevan will be using these actors in his game against Baku. This big game will continue.

 The destructive role of the Armenian expat community needs to be emphasized here, with their active radical and revanchist position against Azerbaijan. This is another threat considering the fact that in certain countries the Armenian expat community is extremely influential: in politics, finance, and media, resulting in the possibility to lobby for different destructive decisions of governments and parliaments against Azerbaijan. The process is actively going on in Europe, in particular, in France and in the Netherlands. Over the recent time we can observe the Armenian lobbyists energizing in the United States. For example, they attempted to introduce a bill in the Congress about sanctions against a series of Azerbaijanian public and military officials. This is a sign of the Armenian expat community is playing its own game against Baku. 

 In the existing circumstances, strategic forecasting and evaluation of potential scenarios for the South Caucasus region are extremely important. That is why, the expert forum on security is needed at the first stage with participation of the leading think tanks from Russia and Azerbaijan, and then engaging think tanks from Iran and Turkey. Such forum could evaluate the negative trends in South Caucasus and develop the proposals of the national leaders for their neutralization. The expert community is capable of playing an extremely important role here.

There is the request for that, and we need to explore the possibilities for such formats as soon as possible. 

Strategically important partner. Bakinskiy Rabochiy, 25.04.2024. https://br.az/economy/71635/strategicheski-cennyy-partner/

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Comments

Strategically Important Partner

25 April 2024

 Igor Korotchenko, one of the leading Russian political analysts, the General Director of the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, shared his opinion about the visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Moscow, about the inter-state relations and situation in the region. 

Ц The visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Russia and his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin may be viewed as a big success. Once again, the parties emphasized complete match of the positions on a series of the key issues in the regional and a broader context. The political, economic, inter-regional, public and cultural ties between Russia and Azerbaijan are developing. Of course, part of the negotiations was not public. We can assume what the agenda was, including how to prevent penetration of Western countries into the South Caucasus region. Obviously, Moscow and Baku will be coordinating their efforts in this sphere. 

 The commitment to achieve unfailing implementation of all the clauses of the tri-lateral statement dated 10 November 2020 was confirmed again. This conclusion may be made based on certain comments provided by the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In any case, as to my understanding, Zangezur corridor remains one of the priority projects, and Moscow and Baku together will be pressing Yerevan to implement it. 

Special attention was paid to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of commencement of construction of Baikal-Amur railway (BAR). Putin and Aliyev met the participants of this grand project and emphasized the great contribution of Heidar Aliyev, the First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR at that time, to the successful implementation of this project and to the Soviet economy in general. On this position Heidar Aliyev supervised the most important infrastructure and transportation projects, including BAR. The day of commemorating this contribution is an element of the foundation of Russian-Azerbaijanian relations. 

 Overall, it was stated that the steady development of bilateral relations in all the spheres is based on the Declaration about the allied interaction between Russia and Azerbaijan signed in Moscow in 2022. This framework document provides a Roadmap for developing the relations between Moscow and Baku. Hence, today we are talking about the obvious strategic value of Azerbaijan for Russia as a partner and an ally.

 Today Azerbaijan is an influential and developed self-sufficient state with a very big weight in the international arena, and of course, the relations with such country represent a big value. Russia intends to actively interact with the Azerbaijanian party on the key challenges the modern world is facing. Baku has turned into one of the leading actors of global policy, and the strategic partnership with such country is definitely an important two-way process. In their comments President Vladimir Putin and his Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov emphasized a number of times the respectful and trust-based attitude towards Azerbaijan.

Ц How did the recently started withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping troops from the territory of Azerbaijan impact the bilateral relations? 

Ц There is no special impact, because this process is nothing but a reflection of the new military and political realities in the region. As is known, upon completing the anti-terrorist actions in Karabakh in September 2023 by the military forces of Azerbaijan, the separatist regime dissolved itself, and the Armenian population decided to abandon their homes and to leave for Armenia despite all the appeals of Baku to stay and to get integrated into Azerbaijanian life. That was their voluntary decision. This resulted in a new geopolitical reality: Azerbaijan reinstated its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and the mandate of Russian peace-makers was completed. The leaders in Baku and Moscow decided to withdraw it, and this is what we can see today. It should be emphasized that Russian peace-keepers performed their duties reputably and creditably.

Ц A short while ago, Baku and Yerevan agreed that four non-exclave villages would be returned to Azerbaijan within the framework of boundary delimitation. May we consider this success the sign of the peace treaty between the two countries to be signed soon?

Ц I do not think we need to expect the peace treaty to be signed soon. The liberation of those four villages is a significant, but yet only the first step within the process of demarcation and delimitation of boundaries. This process is progressing with very big difficulty. It is accompanied by the revanchist forcesТ activities in the political arena. Nevertheless, if the process is carried through to its completion, it will mean the beginning of the first practical moves to bring the situation in the region into the legal framework. 

We understand that Azerbaijan has won the 2nd Karabakh War and reinstated its territorial integrity and sovereignty, but it is important to formalize it from the point of view of international law by legally binding documents. The peace treaty will be one of such documents. But there is still a long way to go. Even though we can see already certain healthy judgments and responses by official Yerevan. At the same time, we all remember very well the hypocrisy of Armenian policy. Hence, there is a need to apply one well-known principle: Trust, but check you must. Of course, everyone is waiting for the peace treaty to be signed, but I donТt believe this process to be easy and painless due to a rather controversial stand of Yerevan. 

 In his speech at the international forum «—ќ–29 and Green Vision for Azerbaijan» President Ilham Aliyev claimed that such countries as France, India and Greece were actively pouring weapons to Armenia, and obviously not with the purpose to maintain peace and tranquility in the region, but to heat up the revanchist ambitions of Yerevan. So, there are divergent processes going on here, and there is the reality besides the will to sign the peace treaty. Hence, there may be numerous military and political surprises on the road to peace Ц on behalf of Armenia and other adversaries of Azerbaijan.

Ц Recently France recalled its Ambassador from Azerbaijan accusing Baku in unilateral actions harming the relations between the two countries. How can this move of Paris be explained?

Ц First of all, this is an ill-conceived and emotional escapade by President Emmanuel Macron associated with Paris losing the possibility to manipulate the situation in Azerbaijan and in the region in general due to skillful actions of the Security Service of Azerbaijan, who unveiled and neutralized the French intelligence residence (diplomats engaged in espionage) and agents (people recruited by diplomats).

 On the other hand, this is an indicator of the unfriendly position of Paris. It is known that during the preceding years France openly supported Armenia instigating Yerevan for military actions against Baku, pouring weapons to the Armenian army (and continues to do that without hiding), and organizing political provocations engaging the respective structures in the EU and Council of Europe. Respectively, France is the one to blame for the entire situation in the Armenian-Azerbaijanian relations.

Ц Can France expect the next steps to aggravate the inter-state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan even more?

Ц Well, Paris definitely will not go for breaking diplomatic relations, because in reality it will mean declaring war. Also, let us not forget about active participation of French business in Azerbaijan economy, especially in some energy projects. That is why breaking diplomatic relations will mean a headshot for France. 

 At lot will depend on the scope of Western assistance to Armenia, because the situation is changing in real-time mode. It is clear that Yerevan has gone through change of partners, but de-jure it still not formalized. Armenia has moved under the patronage of France, the US and the EU in general. Yerevan will be using these actors in his game against Baku. This big game will continue.

 The destructive role of the Armenian expat community needs to be emphasized here, with their active radical and revanchist position against Azerbaijan. This is another threat considering the fact that in certain countries the Armenian expat community is extremely influential: in politics, finance, and media, resulting in the possibility to lobby for different destructive decisions of governments and parliaments against Azerbaijan. The process is actively going on in Europe, in particular, in France and in the Netherlands. Over the recent time we can observe the Armenian lobbyists energizing in the United States. For example, they attempted to introduce a bill in the Congress about sanctions against a series of Azerbaijanian public and military officials. This is a sign of the Armenian expat community is playing its own game against Baku. 

 In the existing circumstances, strategic forecasting and evaluation of potential scenarios for the South Caucasus region are extremely important. That is why, the expert forum on security is needed at the first stage with participation of the leading think tanks from Russia and Azerbaijan, and then engaging think tanks from Iran and Turkey. Such forum could evaluate the negative trends in South Caucasus and develop the proposals of the national leaders for their neutralization. The expert community is capable of playing an extremely important role here.

There is the request for that, and we need to explore the possibilities for such formats as soon as possible. 

Strategically important partner. Bakinskiy Rabochiy, 25.04.2024. https://br.az/economy/71635/strategicheski-cennyy-partner/