President Aliyev’s Messages From Bishkek (Op-Ed)
By Naghi Ahmadov, a senior fellow at the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center)
On October 12, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev came to the Kyrgyz Republic to attend a meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Before the gathering of the CIS Council of the Heads of State Azerbaijani president had a meeting with Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, in Bishkek. President Aliyev attended the meeting of CIS Council of Heads of Stat in a limited and expanded format the next day where a number of issues related to various aspects of the cooperation of member states within the framework of the CIS were widely discussed.
Ilham Aliyev, in his compelling speech, addressed several issues, including bilateral relations between Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan, humanitarian and economic dimensions of relations among CIS countries.
According President Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s investment projects in Kyrgyzstan, the Azerbaijan-Kyrgyzstan Investment Fund in particular, will serve to deepen the cooperation between two countries.
As stated by Azerbaijani president, humanitarian issue is one of the primary areas of relationship in the Commonwealth. In this context, he expressed his gratitude for endorsing Azerbaijan’s candidacy to host the third CIS Games in 2025.
Underlining the 30 percent increase in the volume of trade between Azerbaijan and the CIS countries, Azerbaijani president believes that this has been achieved as a result of enhancing economic ties among member states.
From President Aliyev’s perspective, Azerbaijan is a reliable partner for many CIS countries, primarily in relation to transit and transportation. Many CIS countries are actively using Azerbaijan’s transit opportunities in the East-West and North-South transport corridors. In his viewpoint, the running and prospective projects will help to boost the trade by expanding the capacity of these corridors and contribute to strengthen the economic security of member states.
Concerning the issue of peace talks, interestingly enough, the CIS meeting was held without the participation of Armenia, Russia’s strategic ally as first the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan, and then the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan refused to participate in the meeting of the CIS by putting forward various excuses. While taking this step, PM Pashinyan deliberately rejected to take part in the expected trilateral meeting to be held in Bishkek. That is to say, Armenia pulls out of peace talks with Azerbaijan through the mediation of Russia purposefully.
“Unfortunately, the Armenian side refused to attend that meeting. Now the question arises: does Armenia want peace? I think not, because if it had wanted peace, it would not have missed this opportunity. The Armenian prime minister flies six hours to Granada, participates in an incomprehensible meeting there, where Azerbaijan is discussed without actually being present, but he can’t fly for two to three hours to Bishkek, he has other important things to do. This is what we all have to say openly. Everyone can see that, but we should talk about it and proceed from it,” highlighted by President Aliyev.
Overall, in the past period, the CIS has established itself as an efficient cooperation platform of the member states, those are united by a common history and current challenges. They coordinate their activities in a number of directions, and among them are the issues of terrorism, extremism, illegal migration, fight against human trafficking, which generally have a positive effect on ensuring regional security and deepening cooperation. It is worth noting that Azerbaijan’s relationship with the CIS countries, including bilateral relations, is based on the principle of mutual respect and national interests.
After all, based on the content analysis of the speech of President Aliyev in the meeting of the CIS Council of the Heads of State, it can explicitly be concluded that the organization still matters in Azerbaijan’s foreign policy as a platform of cooperation with regional states, especially in the domain of humanitarian and economic issues.
The article is written especially for News.Az