By Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
Azerbaijan's foreign policy course has been yielding fruits and
dividends in the true sense of the word, and President Ilham
Aliyev's foreign visits are vivid illustrations of my statement,
where his opposite sides keep stressing his integrity, loyalty to
his words, and willingness to extend a helping hand to nations
under global economic crisis, coupled with soaring energy
Visiting Serbia on November 23, 2022, Azerbaijani President
Ilham Aliyev got red-carpet treatment by his Serbian counterpart
Aleksandar Vucic, who welcomed the Azerbaijani leader at the
nation's key airport soon after the presidential Air Force One,
accompanied by three Serbian jets in the sky as a sign of deep
In Belgrade, Azerbaijan and Serbia signed a memorandum to
establish a Strategic Partnership Council, Aleksandar Vucic said,
adding that he is very happy to be able to host“a true friend of
our country, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev”.
In a statement for the media after the signing ceremony,
President Ilham Aliyev also praised relations with Serbia.
'We are strategic partners in the true sense of the word because
we successfully cooperate in many fields, and our cooperation has
Since no foreign meeting of the Azerbaijani leader goes by
without discussing currently pressing vital energy issues, Aliyev
and Vucic also mulled regional security and energy cooperation
among others. Fresh opportunities for cooperation in natural gas
and electricity sectors are opening, the leaders underscored and
the host emphasized the pivotality of Azerbaijan's mission to
extricate several European nations from gas shortage amid declining
gas volumes from Russia.
“Azerbaijan is a superpower when it comes to the production and
export of gas. And in seven, eight, or ten years Azerbaijan will be
exporting more than 35 billion cubic meters of gas to date and
export is around 22 billion cubic meters of gas. Out of that more
than half goes to the European countries and that is why we work on
establishing an interconnector between Serbia and Bulgaria so that
we could provide in advance important amounts and quantities of gas
from our friends in Baku,” Vucic said.
Ilham Aliyev in his speech brought to the fore Azerbaijan's
'rich gas resources that play a role in ensuring the energy
security of many countries' as well as Baku's intention to deepen
cooperation in this field and all other fields“first of all with
friendly nations'. Azerbaijan will also take 'additional steps' to
deepen 'military-technical cooperation' with Serbia, according to
Compartmentalizing Aleksandar Vucic as 'a true friend,' Ilham
Aliyev added said that their friendship had 'played an important
role' toward the 'rapid development' of bilateral relations, adding
that the two countries 'always defend and support' each other on
international platforms. Azerbaijan and Serbia support each other's
sovereignty and territorial integrity and 'this position is
unequivocal and unchanged and will remain unchanged', he added.
Simultaneously, the Serbian leader's point about his guest shed
light on a plethora of issues expressly.
“Ilham Aliyev is the most popular man in Europe now. It's
incredible, how phenomenal changes happened in Europe. They usually
didn't have time for him. Now they have all the time in the world
for him. It's all reserved for Ilham Aliyev since they need his gas
and everything that Azerbaijan can offer, now, he is quite loved
over there. But I know that he is a smart guy. He sees everything,
he understands everything, and I am a bit jealous to tell you the
truth,” Vucic said openly and sincerely, laying bare a stark truth
that there are invaluable things money cannot buy such as wisdom,
true friends, integrity, a good name, satisfaction, purpose, trust,
just to name a few.
As the author of this report, I cannot but also quote another
excerpt from Vucic's speech, which once again persuaded me of my
probity to devote today's lead article to the topic in
“President Aliyev and Azerbaijan are absolutely a reliable
partner not only to us but to everybody. I told President Aliyev,
because of all transparent protocol matters to sign some things,
but for us, his word is enough because we believe in his word more
than in any signature whatsoever. That's quite enough for me. When
he says something, I know it's going to be like that. So, for us
this is really important,” Vucic added.
Amid Azerbaijan's growing role and presence in Europe and other
regions, certain negative developments cannot but highlighted by
pundits tracking the processes. Both Armenia, Russia, Iran, France,
as a whole, and all the actors who want to secure their interests
in the region have built their games around Karabakh, which has
turned into a pear for bears and it would be naive to expect these
games to stop.
The rhetoric of war has lately increased again and I think that
this is the only logical option against the background of the
illogicalities that are happening in the region, in particular, in
Karabakh and Armenia. Under no circumstances, Moscow has sent Ruben
Vardanyan to Karabakh to do ordinary work and official Baku has
already branded Ruben Vardanyan as a project of Moscow though he
has strengthened his position in Karabakh and latest provocations,
shelling of Shusha and other regions by separatists inside Karabakh
and Armenia's armed forces along the nominal state borders are an
indication of exasperating of the situation in months to come.
The appointment of Ruben Vardanyan as the state minister of the
so-called regime has completely changed the situation in Karabakh.
We know that Russia sent him there and it is the Russians, who are
increasing the tension. On the one hand, there is tension between
Azerbaijan and Iran, and on the other hand, with Russia. On top of
that, the French factor is in place. Russians do not want the
restoration of peace.
Armenia is by no means reconciled to the Karabakh defeat.
Pashinyan was trying to gain time and allies, who would seriously
support him by making various contradictory statements about
Karabakh. Actually, he managed to do it. France at the level of its
Senate, and Russia on the field are trying hard to make Armenia's
non-realized dreams come true.
We can clearly see that Armenia's steps are calculated for a
long time and it is preparing for long-term revenge.
Addressing a parliamentary session, Nikol Pashinyan said that
next year, the defense sector expenditures in the state budget of
Armenia are planned at the level of 509 billion drams, which means
that compared to 2018, the increase in military expenditures will
be 113 percent.
In the meantime, on November 23, Armenia refused to sign a
declaration of the CSTO summit on 'joint measures on providing
assistance to Armenia'. Pashinyan said that the document did not
address Yerevan's concerns regarding the lack of CSTO's political
assessment of Azerbaijan's 'aggression' against the territorial
integrity of Armenia, yet another sign of his interminable efforts
to involve members of the Kremlin-led military alliance in the
conflict with Azerbaijan despite refusals he keeps receiving.
'Under these conditions, the lack of a clear political
assessment of the situation and the failure to make the
above-mentioned decision may not only mean the CSTO's refusal from
allied obligations but may also be interpreted by Azerbaijan as a
green light from the CSTO for further aggression against Armenia,'
Pashinyan claimed at the summit in Yerevan.
The Armenian premier did not suffice with his fresh defeat by
his allies in the military bloc, claiming that the lack of reaction
to 'Azerbaijan's aggression' against Armenia 'triggered huge damage
to the CSTO's image' inside Armenia and abroad.
At this point, I cannot but quote Armenian experts, who are
often annoyed and disappointed by promised all-out assistance,
telling the truth when nothing of the promise comes true.
France has quite a rich experience in flirting with Armenians,
pundit Argishti Kiviryan told a discussion on the topic 'The impact
of the processes taking place in the world on Armenia'.
“Let's remember the year 1920 when the Cilician Republic was
proclaimed on July 4 and the Armenians there hoped that France
would protect them. Everything was over in one day. The next day,
the French agreed with the Turks and liquidated this declared
political association, as well as the Armenian armed forces formed
there. Now France will turn it into a bargaining chip with
Azerbaijan. Moreover, the decision of the Senate is advisory in
nature,” he said and once again admitted that their hopes were
dashed to the ground.
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