Books on Azerbaijan
Update No: 350 -
There is a new factor in the
Azeri-Armenian dispute. The Turks want an
end to the business, which is impeding
their all-important relations with Russia.
They have signalled this pretty well.
They want an end to their trade embargo
with Armenia, which has cost them hundreds
of millions of dollars. They regard the
dispute as a most tiresome question. The
Armenians are enterprising and wily
people, with whom it would be most
profitable to do business.
It needs a statesman to resolve this
affair. Where is he?
Initiative in Russia
The answer just possibly is President
Dmitry Medvedev of Russia. As an
intelligent man, with an aversion to war
and a responsible position, he could be
the ideal mediator at a certain stage of
The ball has been set rolling by the fact
that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan met
for a second time in Sochi, the Russian
winter sport resort, in January. They
discussed the current stage in the process
to settle the conflict over the territory
of Nagorno-Karabakh and the prospects for
The meeting was also attended by
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar
Mammadyarov, Armenian Foreign Minister
Edward Nalbandian, the co-chairs of the
OSCE Minsk Group, mediating a settlement
to the conflict - Robert Bradtke of the
USA, Bernard Fassier of France and Yury
Merzlyakov of Russia - and Andrzej
Kasprzyk, the personal representative of
the OSCE chairman-in-office.
The meeting took place at Sochi's Adler
international airport. Earlier in the day,
the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents
had a meeting in Sochi with Russian
President Dmitry Medvedev. The foreign
ministers of the three countries later
joined those talks. Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov said afterwards
that Azerbaijan and Armenia had agreed to
prepare their own proposals on the
contentious parts of an agreement to the
The OSCE mediators hope that Yerevan and
Baku will submit their proposals shortly,
Russia's Minsk Group co-chair Yury
Merzlyakov said after the second round of
talks. Once the proposals have been
submitted, the co-chairs will visit the
region again, Merzlyakov said.
He described the talks as open and
constructive and said that the trilateral
meeting of the Azerbaijani, Armenian and
Russian presidents had been important.
"The sides greatly respect the Russian
president's initiative," Merzlyakov said.
He declined, however, to predict whether a
peace agreement would be signed in 2010.
The agreement on which Azerbaijan and
Armenia are to make their proposals is an
updated version of the Basic Principles of
a settlement proposed by the OSCE
mediators in Madrid in 2007. The Russian
foreign minister said that the sides had
reached "a common understanding on the
preamble of the document", which implies
that much remains to be agreed.
The Basic Principles as formulated earlier
include the return of the territories
surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to
Azerbaijani control, an interim status for
Karabakh providing guarantees for security
and self-governance, and the future
determination of the final legal status of
Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding
expression of will.
The status of Karabakh is thought to be
the key sticking point in the
negotiations. Azerbaijan insists that
Karabakh should remain within Azerbaijan,
as is recognized by international law,
while Armenia wants a different status for
The Azeri-Israeli axis
The Azeris and the Israelis get on - after
a fashion. They are both outsiders in
their respective realms of the world.
Azerbaijan has the largest trade with
Israel of any Muslim state.
In 2009 Azerbaijan supplied Israel with
$4bn worth of oil. Azerbaijan meets
approximately 20% of Israel's oil needs
and is the country's second largest oil
supplier, after Russia.
Trade between the two countries last year
was worth $4.25bn.
Israel exported $250m worth of goods to
Azerbaijan, a 50% increase on 2008.