Beware Of Greeks Bearing Gifts: S Caucasus Facing Risk

(MENAFN- AzerNews) By Talya Iscan, AZERNEWS

This expression, known for centuries, symbolizes the idea ofdistrust of supposedly friendly gestures by those who may be hidingsecondary intentions or dangers.

The South Caucasus is becoming a new platform for confrontationand clashes, which is worrying. The recent special meeting inBrussels between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, EuropeanCommission President Ursula von der Leyen and Armenian PrimeMinister Nikol Pashinyan underscores the attention that major worldpowers are paying to Armenia, a nation of just 2 million people inthe South Caucasus. This interest may come as a surprise to some,but not to those familiar with recent Western movements in thispeace-seeking region.

It is obvious that Azerbaijan has expressed its dissatisfactionwith this initiative, interpreting it as an attempt to incite inArmenia and divide the South Caucasus, including the isolation ofAzerbaijan. Also interesting was the quick and direct reaction ofanother regional power, Turkey, which called the meeting an attemptto undermine the neutral approach that should be the basis forsolving complex problems in the region.

Turkey has warned that any initiative that excludes Azerbaijanrisks turning the South Caucasus into a zone of geopoliticalconfrontation instead of serving peace. Following these reactions,both Blinken and von der Leyen rushed to call Azerbaijani leaderIlham Aliyev to explain that the initiative was not aimed atAzerbaijan and that the goal was to help Armenia's economy. Is themeeting masquerading as a meeting on economic interests truly aimedat cooperation or is it just divisive rhetoric tearing the regionapart? Do we hear Europe talking about“alarming” scenarios, whichin fact do not exist, in order to arm Armenia and push it away fromRussia, in order to control the South Caucasus zone under theinfluence and interference of the West?

However, it is difficult to believe in selfless feelings on thepart of the West, especially after the daring actions of FrenchPresident Macron, both in support, including military, of Armenia,and in his aggressive statements about the deployment of Frenchtroops in Ukraine to openly confront Russia.

This is confirmed by social media posts by the French ambassadorin Yerevan, who stated that“France has military weapons thateveryone wants to have, and France is providing them to Armenia,”demonstrating France's overly aggressive position in theCaucasus.

At the same time, some European countries see these positions asdangerous and recognize the important role of Azerbaijan as apartner of the EU, especially in the energy sector as a keypartner. For example, Italy's deputy foreign minister acknowledgedthe importance of Azerbaijan and criticized his Frenchcounterpart's statement as unhelpful, suggesting that it would bemore appropriate and necessary for the French minister not tojeopardize the efforts of many who are moving intelligently towarda final peace settlement in the region.

It is clear that the West's attempts to alienate Armenia fromits historical and most important ally, Russia, are creatinganother area of tension between major Western countries and Russia turn, the Armenian government is trying to benefit from thissituation, positioning itself as a potential Western outpostagainst Russia and Iran.

Russia's reaction was not long in coming, with Russian ForeignMinister Sergei Lavrov calling the Armenian Prime Minister'sstatement about freezing its participation in the CSTO (acollective security organization controlled by Russia) anunfriendly step that jeopardizes the allied relations between thetwo countries. Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the RussianForeign Ministry, noted that the EU mission in Armenia, which theydescribe as a civilian mission to control the borders of thatcountry, is in fact a NATO mission, since Canada is also includedin it.

Although the reaction from another regional power and long-termally of Armenia, Iran, has not been as visible, there are manysigns indicating that the Iranians have categorically warned theArmenian government against this Western offensive. AfterAzerbaijan regained control of its territories that had been underArmenian occupation for decades, the region has seen new and realhope and development towards long-term peace. New regionalcooperation platforms such as the“3+3” (Azerbaijan, Armenia andGeorgia, Russia, Turkey and Iran) are emerging and first meetingsare being held, while the final peace agreement between Azerbaijanand Armenia is still being negotiated.

While Armenia still must overcome legal and constitutionalobstacles to renounce territorial claims against its neighbors andachieve final peace, recent events and Western attempts point to avery dangerous trend toward fragmentation of the South Caucasusregion as the scene of yet another confrontation between the Westand Russia, with subsequent possible“Syrianization” of Armenia,which means undermining Armenian sovereignty.



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