AZERBAIJAN’S COOPERATION WITH ISRAEL ‘NOT DIRECTED AGAINST IRAN’
Tue 28 February 2012 11:30 GMT | 11:30 Local Time
News.Az interviews Aydin Mirzazade, an MP for the ruling New
Azerbaijan Party, member of the defence and security committee and
Azerbaijan-Israel parliamentary friendship group.
How significant is cooperation with Israel for Azerbaijan, including
in the military sphere, the development of which has recently been
reported by the world media?
Israel is one of the states in the region that supports the territorial
integrity of Azerbaijan. It cooperates with Azerbaijan in a number of
areas. Therefore, Azerbaijan can benefit from the experience of Israel,
not only in arms purchases, but also in creating new production
capacity and building infrastructure. Israel is currently known
to the world as a country with new technology and, in this regard,
Azerbaijan will never hide the fact that it is cooperating with this
country. I would not say that there is a special friendship between
Azerbaijan and Israel, because Azerbaijan does not have any special
relationship with any country.
Is Azerbaijan’s cooperation with Israel directed against Iran, as
some Iranian leaders claim?
Azerbaijan’s cooperation with any state, including Israel, is
not directed against third countries. All countries can see that
Azerbaijan’s policy over the past 18 years has not been directed
against any country. Azerbaijan does not have any problem with Iran.
Besides, Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that it will not allow
other countries to use its territories against Iran.
Iran has repeatedly stated that in the event of war against it by the
West, it will strike back at neighbouring countries that are within
the sphere of interest of the United States and Israel. Could the
Azerbaijani-Israeli cooperation prompt an Iranian military attack on
the territory of Azerbaijan?
If Iranian military circles are considering this, it would be nothing
but a heavy strike against Iran’s own interests, i.e. it would have
a boomerang effect. Azerbaijan does not pose any threat to Iran.
Azerbaijan believes that the problems of the brotherly and friendly
Iran should be resolved through negotiations. In addition, its problems
with the West, above all, are the problems of Iran itself.
And it would be a big mistake for Iran to look for these problems
outside, i.e. in third countries.
Armenia also sees Azerbaijan’s cooperation with Israel as a threat.
What has prompted this allegation from the Armenian side?
With the exception of Armenia, Azerbaijan has normal relations with
all countries of the world. At the same time, these relations are
based on mutual interests.
As for Armenia, Azerbaijan today uses all means to put pressure on the
country. This pressure aims to force Armenia to withdraw its forces
from the occupied Azerbaijani lands. At the same time, Azerbaijan
does it without the assistance of third countries and relying only
on its own capacity. Therefore, any hint from Armenia over Israel
Is the Armenian accusation justified that the military cooperation
between Israel and Azerbaijan serves the militarization of the latter?
It’s not Azerbaijan but Armenia that is conducting a militaristic
policy, since Armenia directs over $400m to military spending, which
is 25% of the state budget, the total size of which is $2.5bn. There
is no country in the world except Armenia that spends one-quarter of
its budget on the military.
As for Azerbaijan, which Armenia accuses of militarism, Baku spends
only 11-12% of the state budget on military purposes. This amounts
to about $3bn in total out of a state budget of $22bn.
Comparing these figures, it should be borne in mind that part of
Azerbaijani territory is occupied by Armenia. And if Azerbaijan did
not face military aggression, the country’s military budget today
would be miserly. Therefore, Azerbaijan, taking into account the
occupation of its lands, is constantly conducting preparatory work
to ensure the territorial integrity of the country.
Azerbaijan has more than once stated that it is considering both
diplomatic and military ways to liberate its lands. Azerbaijan
will start to reduce military spending once the Armenian-occupied
territories have been liberated. If Armenia is afraid of the volume
of Azerbaijan’s military expenditure, first and foremost it has to
liberate the occupied lands and renounce its territorial claims. At the
same time, Armenia should be interested in this, since today it does
not have enough resources to maintain the expeditionary force abroad.
From: A. Papazian