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Consensus Emerging between US and Azerbaijan - Mehman Aliyev
ÇƏTİN SUAL 


2017 July 13 ( Thursday )  12:55:27
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Русский Azərbaycan

Baku / 13.07.17 / Turan: The process of activation of cooperation has begun in the US-Azerbaijan relations, Mehman Aliyev, the Director of the Turan Information Agency, believes.

In an interview with Cetin Sual (Difficult Question), he commented on the situation in US-Azerbaijan relations and geopolitical interests in the region.

For a long time, official Baku has expressed dissatisfaction with criticism by the West and, in particular, by the US, of human rights problems. Can the meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that took place in Istanbul the other day serve as an impetus for overcoming the coolness in the bilateral relations?

Answering this question, Aliyev noted that criticism and pressure are more relevant to 2015-2016. Tensions lasted most during the period of Barack Obama's presidency.

"However, when a constitutional referendum was announced in Azerbaijan in July 2016, the pressure on the authorities practically ceased. During the transitional period of the change of administrations, there was some stagnation in the bilateral relations.

On the other hand, official circles enthusiastically welcomed last year's victory of Donalf Trump in the presidential election in the United States. After a while, activity was marked in the bilateral relations. For 2-3 months such a dialogue is on the ascending line. I believe that the meeting of President Ilham Aliyev and the US Secretary of State in Istanbul was the result of this dialogue. That is, it was preceded by discussions of certain issues, as a result of which the parties reached an agreement and, as a result, the meeting took place. The meeting discussed issues of democracy, reforms and human rights, which are a priority for the United States at this stage," Aliyev said.

He noted that "road maps" in 12 directions have been developed and are waiting for implementation in Azerbaijan. National plans of action in the field of human rights, open government and other spheres have been adopted. In addition, the process of preparing a new agreement with the EU is underway. Structural reforms are on the agenda.

"We see that there is cooperation between the two sides and the main goal of America is to provide an evolutionary and peaceful transition to democracy in Azerbaijan and other regions," Aliyev said.

Do the interests of the West and Russia coincide in the region? To what extent do the interests of these states correspond to the national interests of Azerbaijan?

Answering the question, Aliyev said there is no direct clash between the United States and Russia in the region. Both sides, especially Moscow, optimistically commented on the results of the meeting between Trump and Putin in Hamburg. This shows that the sides have formed close views on a wide range of issues.

It was noted that only for North Korea, Putin and Trump could not come to an agreement.

On all other issues, agreements were reached. Although special emphasis was placed on Syria and Ukraine, and the South Caucasus was not mentioned, Tillerson's meeting with the Azerbaijani President in Istanbul immediately after his visit to Hamburg showed that the summit of the US and Russian leaders touched on the situation in the South Caucasus and reached some consensus. The Armenian side stated that in November it will sign a new agreement with the EU within the framework of the Eastern Partnership with the blessing of Russia. One must assume that in this case Moscow will not object to the signing of such an agreement with the EU by Azerbaijan.

This is a new situation and a new period. The positions of the parties are even closer.

"And this meets the national interests of Azerbaijan, for Azerbaijan is in a crisis situation. There is an economic crisis and a systemic crisis. The way out of the crisis is through reforms, establishment of intensive and active ties with the EU and developed democracies. Therefore, I believe that a common platform for joint actions on current issues of the agenda has been formed," Aliyev continued.

As for the coinciding and divergent positions between the West and Russia on the Karabakh conflict, according to Aliyev, the powers have always used this problem to realize their geopolitical interests in the region.

At this stage, the US uses the conflict to move Azerbaijan and Armenia to democracy, which in the end will become the key to solving the problem.

Russia is exerting pressure on Azerbaijan in the Karabakh issue to secure its economic interests in order to sell its goods here, and to attract Azerbaijani investments to its economy. The Russian Federation also has security interests. This is to ensure that the territory of Azerbaijan is not used in any form against Russia - for example, to destabilize the Russian south.

However, in general, both the US and Russia understand the need to resolve the Karabakh conflict, which impedes the implementation of regional projects in which there are interests of both sides.

Both Azerbaijan and Armenia declare their commitment to a peaceful settlement of the problem. However, there are differences in the approaches of the parties. Baku consistently offers compromises, while Armenia does not depart from the position of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. At the end of last year, President Aliyev offered Nagorno-Karabakh the status of an autonomous republic within Azerbaijan. Before that, there were Aland, Tyrolean and other models of coexistence. The position of the Armenian side is destructive and the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group understand this too. And in this case, the mechanism of coercion to peace, the fragment of which was applied in April 2016, is on the agenda. An obstacle to compromise from the Armenian side is the myth of the incapacity of the Azerbaijani army and the invincibility of Armenians. We saw the first shock in the Armenian society during the April 2016 battles. This was caused not only by the fact that the Azerbaijani army showed its ability to fight, but also by the tacit consent of the co-chairing states. It is no accident that an anti-Russian wave of protests swept Armenia.

I think that if the Armenian side does not move towards a compromise, then another bigger military strike will follow with the goal of coercion to peace," Mehman Aliyev said. -03D06-

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