Op-ed: “Azerbaijan is using Russia-West confrontation”
Yerevan denied refusing to participate in Tbilisi negotiations
Yerevan did not refuse the proposal to hold a trilateral meeting in Tbilisi, the press secretary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry said.
Earlier, during the IX Global Baku Forum, the President of Azerbaijan stated that Armenia had rejected the proposal to hold a trilateral meeting in Tbilisi at the level of the foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Ilham Aliyev once again discussed the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group in the negotiations with Armenia, stressing that “this institution will no longer function”. Meanwhile, Armenia has recently been emphasizing in all its statements the expediency of negotiations with Azerbaijan in the format of mediation of the co-chairing countries of the Minsk Group (United States, France and Russia).
Commenting on the situation on the normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and statements from Baku, political observer Hakob Badalyan expressed the opinion that Azerbaijan is taking advantage of the confrontation between the West and Russia. It plays a freer and bolder game, trying to make the most of the situation. According to the analyst, Baku uses the fact that as a result of the war in Ukraine, the importance of Azerbaijan’s energy resources has increased.
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“I can’t find a reasonable explanation” – Ilham Aliyev
According to Aliyev, the Georgian authorities welcomed the idea of organizing a trilateral meeting at the level of foreign ministers, while official Yerevan rejected it.
“Unfortunately, Armenia refused. The reason is unknown to me. I can’t find any reasonable explanation”, he said.
Aliyev also spoke about the further activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, insisting that there was no need for it.
“We have already received messages that the Minsk Group institution will no longer function”, he said.
Armenia did not react in any way to Aliyev’s statement about the future of the OSCE Minsk Group. Foreign Ministry spokesman Vahan Unanyan spoke only about the proposal to meet in Tbilisi:
“Not only did we not refuse, but we have always been positive about such a possible meeting, while at the same time noting that work needs to be done to ensure the effectiveness of the meeting”.
According to political observer Hakob Badalyan, there are two lines in Aliyev’s latest statement – blackmail and alleged readiness for peace. The analyst believes that official Baku combines these two directions throughout the entire post-war period.
“Aliyev is trying to create the impression that he is ready for political, diplomatic and economic cooperation, while Yerevan rejects him”, Hakob Badalyan told JAMnews.
In his opinion, in its response, Yerevan emphasizes that Baku’s statements are an end in itself, in fact, the Azerbaijani authorities are not ready for effective measures and effective formats for discussing and resolving issues.
“For Azerbaijan, they are just a way to realize and capitalize their resource and positional advantages. And not only in relation to Armenia, but also to Georgia”, the expert stressed.
In his opinion, another important detail in the response from Yerevan is that regional cooperation needs to be transferred “to the subject field, to outline a roadmap for negotiations”. Success in this case will not be guaranteed, Badalyan believes, but the readiness of the parties to achieve results will be manifested.
Referring to Aliyev’s statement on the Minsk Group, the political observer stressed that the Armenian side regularly expresses its position on this issue. There is no need to respond to every statement from Baku.
According to Badalyan, the work of the group largely depends on the relations of the co-chairing countries, on which Armenia and Azerbaijan do not have much influence:
“If the format works due to the readiness and respective intentions of the three countries [co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – the US, France, Russia], Azerbaijan does not have enough political weight to oppose this. Now Aliyev is trying to seize the moment and push through his agenda, at least at the level of rhetoric”.
According to Badalyan, although France and the United States are not yet working with Russia, Moscow is interested in this format:
“It is very important for Moscow that France and the US recognize the special role of Russia in the Caucasus, its dominant position in resolving the Armenian-Azerbaijani issue. At the same time, Russia is trying to maintain the format of co-chairing as an advantage in regional issues in the context of work with Turkey and Iran”.
Moreover, Baku again reported that the Armenia opened fire on Azerbaijani positions, Yerevan, once again, denied this information. According to Badalyan, such messages serve the main task of Azerbaijan – “to dictate its own agenda for the peace process, its own conditions.”
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan issued a statement saying that on the night of June 16-17, units of the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire on Azerbaijani positions in the eastern part of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The Armenian Defense Ministry reported that this information is not true.
According to the expert, for Baku this is not only a way of putting pressure on Yerevan, but also a “tool” for working with foreign centers. Azerbaijan uses the West-Russia confrontation for a freer and bolder game in the name of its interests.
Badalyan recalls that as a result of the Ukrainian war and its consequences, attention to Azerbaijan and its energy resources has increased. It is precisely this circumstance that Aliyev is trying to take advantage of in order to derive the greatest benefit from the current situation.