Our Analytics 19 august — 11:41

Baku-Tbilisi axis: What is needed for stability of the region (Editorial)

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EDITORIAL

The incident related to the fact that Georgia served as a transit point for the supply of weapons to Armenia during the 'July war,' thanks to the wisdom of the leaders of the two countries, can be considered settled.

The deeply thought-out and balanced position of President Ilham Aliyev in connection with the above-mentioned incident regarding the 'arms transit' disappointed those who expected a deep cooling of relations between Baku and Tbilisi.

It did not work out to split the traditionally age-old, fraternal and friendly relations between the two countries; their leaders turned out to be above momentary emotions and interests, and proved that they can see where the strategy is and where is the misunderstanding that is permanently occurring even between the kindest neighbours.

It didn't work out to split the age-old brotherly relationship

By a true recognition of the fraternal relationship, a high assessment that Baku gave to Tbilisi's operational actions to resolve the incident -- the other day the Georgian authorities resolutely stopped the attempt to pass another caravan with weapons for Armenia through the country -- the leaders of the two countries sent an unambiguous signal to the rest of the world.

Although it was precisely thanks to the principled position of President Ilham Aliyev, who raised the problem of transit arms supplies to the interstate level, that it was possible to exclude all the threats hanging over the prospect of strategic cooperation between the two fraternal countries.

And the strategic partnership of the two countries is confirmed by figures and realities. Indeed, by the end of the year, the entire Eurasian region is waiting for the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor. In addition, Azerbaijani companies are the largest taxpayers in Georgia. In the very near future, Azerbaijani companies plan to implement new large projects to further develop economic cooperation.

Azerbaijan in the first half of 2020 became Georgia's third largest trading partner in terms of volume, behind only China and Russia. Azerbaijan is one of the most serious investors in the Georgian economy. SOCAR (State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic) is the largest taxpayer of the Georgian treasury; it has serious assets in Georgia, at least, gas distribution networks and infrastructure facilities. About 2 million tonnes of oil per year pass through the terminal in Kulevi, the transit potential of Georgia is provided to a large extent by Azerbaijan, we are talking about both energy and transport interaction, thousands of containers pass through the territory of Georgia every year.

Ilham Aliyev is the author of giant geo-economic projects that changed the fate of the region

The strategic depth of the partnership between the two countries is so great that today it is impossible to imagine the appearance of cracks in it even hypothetically -- after all, as a result, not only the budget of Georgia and the country's economy, but also the image of Tbilisi will suffer serious damage. After all, the European Union regards Georgia and Azerbaijan as important transport hubs that will ensure the energy security of the entire European continent in the future. Undoubtedly, the author of the concept of the Tbilisi-Baku axis is President I. Aliyev himself, on whose initiative and with his personal participation major geo-economic and transport projects have been implemented. Geo-economic and communication arteries became the basis for the formation of a regional security system with the participation of Azerbaijan and Georgia. It was Ilham Aliyev who initiated the creation of a geopolitical triangle: Azerbaijan - Georgia - Turkey. In recent years, an important addition to the existing geopolitical axis has become the dominant role in regional processes of Azerbaijan's closest ally, Turkey, which has made a lot of efforts for the economic integration of economies and fortifying military-political ties.

The sound circles of the Georgian establishment long ago realised the correctness of the course towards Baku chosen by the ruling party 'Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia' and its founder Bidzina Ivanishvili and Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia: the closest cooperation and strong alliance for the benefit of the entire region.

The political and economic axis Baku-Tbilisi is one of the most successful and perfect models of good-neighbourliness and can serve as an example for other countries in the region.

Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly discussed in personal negotiations with Bidzina Ivanishvili the issue of integration of Azerbaijanis into Georgian society

And a separate factor in strengthening good-neighbourliness is the position of the Azerbaijani diaspora in Georgia, which Baku always follows closely enough. And the fact that this diaspora is taking an ever more active part in the life of Georgia -- and occupying elective positions there, which, by the way, was not the case under Mikheil Saakashvili -- is another proof that our countries are getting closer. For the first time in history, it was during the rule of the 'Georgian Dream' that an ethnic Azeri - Zaur Dargalli headed the executive authority of the Marneuli district. The natural integration of the Azerbaijani community into the multicultural Georgian community was repeatedly discussed by President I. Aliyev in personal talks with the leader of the 'Georgian Dream' B. Ivanishvili.

The development of the regions of Georgia, where ethnic Azerbaijanis live compactly, is of paramount importance for official Baku. The Azerbaijani government is very scrupulous about the problems of Azerbaijanis in Georgia, and the level of their involvement in the process of democratic self-government of the Georgian regions is the most important indicator of the observance of the social and cultural rights of Azerbaijanis. In contrast to the separatist sentiments in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, fuelled by the government and the special services of Armenia, ethnic Azerbaijanis fought faithfully for a united, indivisible, sovereign Georgia. Although during the reign of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, Azerbaijanis were not allowed access to self-government bodies and executive power. And along with this, during the rule of Saakashvili, ethnic Armenians, lobbying for the interests of Armenia at the expense of cooperation with Azerbaijan, were promoted to influential and significant posts in the Georgian government.

Being inextricably linked with their historical homeland, the Azerbaijanis never claimed separation from Georgia: neither during the first republic, nor during Sovietisation, nor after the restoration of political sovereignty and the revision of state borders. The Georgian Armenians are another matter. Turning the pages of history, is it worth recalling the persistent and continuous claims of Armenia to the historically Georgian Lori region?! As a result of the fierce Georgian-Armenian war, the Dashnak Ararat government suffered a crushing defeat on the battlefields. And Lori remained a part of Georgia. But taking advantage of the historical situation, acting in the role of provoking Menshevik Georgia into a war with Soviet Armenia, and therefore with Bolshevik Russia, the Armenian separatists again raised the issue of transferring Lori and Akhalkalaki to Armenia.

Turning the pages of history: Georgia's bleeding wound - Lori

On July 7, at the same historic meeting of the Caucasus Bureau with the participation of Stalin, Armenia managed to snatch Lori. Three days earlier, the same Caucasian Bureau decided to leave Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, on which even Mikoyan himself insisted in his letters to Lenin, assuring the leader that the Karabakh peasantry had nothing to do with Erivan and should be under the jurisdiction of Baku. We must not forget about the lessons of history, which, moreover, has the insidious property of invariably repeating itself. Indeed, at the beginning of the last century, Armenia did not abandon its attempts to push Georgia against Azerbaijan. However, both then and now, political prudence and the centuries-old brotherhood of the two peoples prevailed.

Even today Armenia does not abandon its attempts to drive a wedge into our relations, but the political foresight, the wisdom of the governments of the two countries defuse the atmosphere in the South Caucasus, neutralising the attempts of some politicians from other countries to make it toxic.

Ilham Aliyev, in conversation with Vladimir Putin, raised the issue of arms supplies to Armenia

Mentioning the incident with the armed transit, as well as the malicious insinuations of Armenia aimed at undermining the friendly relations of Azerbaijan with neighbouring countries, it would not be superfluous to touch upon relations with another strategic partner of Azerbaijan - Russia. No one in Azerbaijan questions the sincerely friendly nature of the strategic partnership with Russia. And a few days ago, Ilham Aliyev called Russian leader Vladimir Putin. As we have pointed out many times, the two leaders share a personal friendship and a special relationship of trust. President I. Aliyev, in conversation with V. Putin, raised the problem of arms supplies from Russia to Armenia during the short-term but fierce July war with Armenia. The press service of the President of Azerbaijan did not provide information on the conversation between the two leaders. However, a few hours after the conversation, the Kremlin press service circulated a message about a call from I. Aliyev, who, they say, called the Russian president to congratulate him on the invention of a vaccine to combat coronavirus. And, according to Peskov's service, it turned out that in response to I. Aliyev's congratulations, V. Putin began to call on Azerbaijan and Armenia to de-escalate on the front line. The Azerbaijani public was surprised to receive the information of the press service of the Russian president. After that, official Baku was forced to provide information on the main motive of I. Aliyev's appeal to V. Putin.

So, thanks to the timely intervention of the head of the Azerbaijani state, in the shortest possible time Azerbaijan managed to defuse the situation with its main strategic partners and find answers to the most burning questions. This gives rise to certain positive hopes in the sound political circles of our countries: relying on wisdom and mutual interests, giving preference to a balanced and mutually beneficial approach, rather than emotional outbursts, it is possible to resolve any most pressing issue. For the good of the world, for the good of people, for the good of the peaceful sky above our heads!

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