Azerbaijan at EAEU summit: Cooperation without accession
    And trilateral meeting

    ANALYTICS  24 May 2023 - 11:01

    Babek Karimov

    A meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council with the participation of heads of state of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will be held in Moscow on May 24-25. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is also expected to attend. Anticipating surprised questions, we say immediately that Azerbaijan's accession to the EAEU is out of the question. We will explain the reasons for our president's presence at the event below.

    There has long been talk that the EAEU countries would like to see Azerbaijan in the ranks of the organisation. And this is understandable - Azerbaijan is a self-sufficient state, and its accession to the EAEU would only add weight to the structure. However, Baku is categorical on this issue - we prefer the format of bilateral relations in all spheres, rather than membership in organisations, implying supranational structures. And this is the healthy pragmatism of Azerbaijan's top leadership, driven by both political and economic rationality.

    In the same way, we are developing relations with the EU - cooperation without compromising our sovereignty and neutrality. Even if we are talking about economic integration organisations. As President Aliyev noted recently in Shusha "we did not even sign the association agreement with the EU. But not because we did not want to be closer. We do not want to have some kind of unilateral format of cooperation".

    By the way, it should be noted that even though Azerbaijan did not and has no plans to apply for involvement in the EAEU structures, nevertheless, as already mentioned, our country is a welcome guest at the events of this structure. However, Armenia has previously opposed the presence of Azerbaijan in the EAEU leaders’ summits, putting forward its own conditions.

    Moreover, Yerevan did this although other member countries of the organisation have repeatedly stressed the need for closer cooperation with Baku. But this time Armenia kept silent, realising that its objections would not be accepted by the other participants of the integration project. A similar setback for Yerevan was observed in the case of French President (Emmanuel) Macron, whom the Armenian side was maniacally trying to engage as an intermediary in the negotiations with Azerbaijan. However, when faced with the latter's firm position, Armenia was forced to abandon the idea.

    And here we come to the question: what is the reason for the presence of our head of state at the EAEU summit? To begin with, although Azerbaijan is not planning to join the EAEU, it is steadily increasing cooperation with the EAEU member states. In particular, this was discussed during the recent visit to Baku of the chairman of the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Mikhail Myasnikovich, who was received by President Ilham Aliyev.

    The expansion of trade opportunities and trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the EAEU member states was discussed at the meeting. That is, not with the organization as such, but with its members. And here the direction of cooperation is the broadest.

    It is worth noting that Azerbaijan's bilateral relations with the EAEU members - Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia - include the development of political, trade, transport, logistics and cultural cooperation. In addition, Azerbaijan closely cooperates with some EEU members, such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus is a state with which Baku has friendly and mutually beneficial relations. Apart from Armenia, we can say that Azerbaijan effectively cooperates with all EEU member states.

    A small digression. As we know, throughout the years of Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijani territories, some EAEU member states (which are also members of the CSTO) - Kazakhstan and Belarus - have actively supported Azerbaijan's position, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    The leaders of these two states have even raised the Karabakh issue at EAEU and CSTO summits. Recall (former Kazakh President Nursultan) Nazarbayev's letter to President Ilham Aliyev at the summit discussing Armenia's accession to the Eurasian Union, Lukashenko's rebuke of the Armenians and Tokayev's words about the victorious restoration of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. And what is it - will not the Kurmangazy art school be built in liberated Fuzuli on behalf of the Kazakh people? And we are grateful to these countries for the constant support of Azerbaijan. By the way, Baku repeatedly noted that we have more allies in the CSTO/EUEC than Armenia.

    So, neither Azerbaijan will be a stranger at the EAEU summit, nor the member countries of this union will be strangers to us. In any case, the presence of Azerbaijan’s president at the EAEU leaders’ summit is another proof of our country's diplomatic offensive. Undoubtedly, being represented on the EAEU platform only gives us additional bonuses and leverage to ensure the interests of our country.

    Naturally, as far as Moscow and the EAEU are concerned, there is no way around it without Armenia. As you know, a trilateral meeting of Aliyev-Putin-Pashinyan is scheduled for May 25. Azerbaijan, which is firmly committed to the idea of achieving an era of peace, security and development in our region, does not intend to ignore the Moscow platform. Neither is Brussels, nor Washington. If there is a chance to get even a little closer to peace, one should use it. Especially in the light of Pashinyan's recent statements. Who knows, maybe Moscow will be able to make progress in the normalization of Azerbaijani-Armenian relations.


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