"Georgia would definitely benefit from the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace deal"
    Caliber.Az from Tbilisi

    INTERVIEWS  14 February 2023 - 15:03

    Huseyn Safarov
    Caliber.Az

    Yerevan's dependence on Moscow is the main reason for Armenia's unwillingness to join the regional trilateral format of the negotiations (Azerbaijan-Armenia-Georgia), Georgy Mchedlishvili, associate professor at the University of Europe, Tbilisi, and a former advisor at the Political Department of the Georgian Foreign Ministry told Caliber.Az. He made the comment while speaking about the ongoing isolation of Armenia, from which, however, the country is in no hurry to get out.

    Mchedlishvili said Armenia owes Russia not only for its security (although Armenians think that Moscow betrayed them in the end) but also for everyday life in general.

    "It is common knowledge that Karabakh and seven regions of Azerbaijan were occupied by Armenia, but at the same time Armenia itself was held hostage by Karabakh for several decades. Its statehood suffered most of all during the presidency of Robert Kocharyan (1998-2008) when most of the country's strategic assets were sold to the Russian Federation. This is why the current leadership of Armenia, represented by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who has no links with the 'Karabakh clan', seeks to change the situation and lead the country out of this vicious circle of dependence and isolation. However, too much damage was done to Armenia in the late 1990s and early 2000s, so the incumbent authorities cannot break out of Russia's grip. Russia is a revisionist power, obsessed only with keeping the region under its control. In this context, sending politically motivated businessman Ruben Vardanyan to Karabakh can be interpreted as a sharp warning from Moscow that an attempt to act independently will cost dear," the Georgian expert believes.

    At the same time, according to Mchedlishvili, the complete elimination of foreign powers' influence in the South Caucasus is unlikely in the current circumstances.

    "This region has huge geostrategic potential, but at the moment its main asset is the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (Middle Corridor), where China, Türkiye, and the EU are located and in which the US is interested as the strongest power. Their economic status and relations among themselves and with the countries in our region largely determine the future of the South Caucasus and how effectively we use our geostrategic potential. In my opinion, the weakening influence of the Russian Federation on the region is most important. As the aggression against Ukraine shows, intimidation and the use of force is the only tool in Moscow's arsenal," he said.

    "The negotiations are crucial for the peace to prevail in the region, and Georgia could become a suitable venue for negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia since it has happened many times," a Georgian expert stressed.

    "Georgia could become a meeting place for Azerbaijani and Armenian sides, although Tbilisi cannot be considered a full-fledged mediator. Significant political, economic, and, if necessary, military weight is needed to become a meaningful deterrent for Russia, which is trying to derail the agreement at every step.

    Georgia would definitely benefit from a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as it would mean turning the South Caucasus into a full-fledged region with considerable potential. True, in this case, many new routes, because of the geographical proximity to both Azerbaijan and Türkiye, could pass through Armenia, but with the existing corridors - coupled with Georgia. Access to the Black Sea and the volumes of goods that could pass through a potential Middle Corridor and at the same time the geopolitical dividends of the South Caucasus as a significant region go beyond just trade and economy, as they mean political independence and make the region much more resilient against third powers, which stake their presence on the need and are driven by the divide-and-conquer principle," Mchedlishvili summed up.

    Caliber.Az

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