Russian FM Visit to Baku Causes Controversial Response in Azerbaijan


MOSCOW, JANUARY 31. ARMINFO. Russia’s FM Sergey Lavrov is being
suspected of planning to involve Azerbaijan in some political and
economic jobbery.

According to Sohbet Mamedov and Elhan Shahinoglu, the Azeri analysts
of Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Moscow), Lavrov’s Feb 1 visit to Baku has
caused much clamor in Azerbaijan. The local media are reporting that
Lavrov will insist on Azerbaijan’s accession into Collective Security
Treaty Organization. In response the Azeri national patriots are
accusing their authorities of treason and are claiming that
Azerbaijan’s sovereignty is at risk. But many doubt this.
Particularly politologist Zardust Alizade says that Lavrov is
experienced enough to touch on a ticklish subject like CSTO membership
especially as CSTO member is Armenia.

Meanwhile the Azeri FM says that the key goal of Lavrov’s visit is to
prepare for the mid Feb Moscow meeting of Ilham Aliev and Vladimir
Putin. With his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov Lavrov is to
discuss economic, Caspian status and Caspian Summit issues with a
special emphasis on joint anti-terror activities.

Of course the Karabakh problem is still a serious obstacle to the
successful development of Azeri-Russian relations. In Moscow Russia
will be asked to stop being a neutral mediator and to actively
influence its strategical ally Armenia. Lavrov may face complaints
concerning the recent pro-Armenian statements by OSCE Minsk Group
Russian Co-Chair Yuri Merzlyakov who said that Nagorny Karabakh is
also a party to the conflict.

One more reason for the public concern in Azerbaijan might be Lavrov’s
Armenian roots.

Some Azeri experts say that unless Lavrov succeeds to agree with the
Azeri authorities on the key issues Russia may lose its influence on
Azerbaijan leaving the key roles in the region to the US and the
EU. But if Moscow makes certain concessions Baku will continue
respecting its interests in Azerbaijan and may intensify economic
relations including between Russian and Azeri regions.

It was for this reason probably that Russia has proclaimed 2005 the
year of Azerbaijan in Russia and invited Pres.Aliev to Moscow.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress