The situation in the Tovuz direction remains tense
On the morning of July 16, units of the Armenian armed forces again attempted to attack our positions on the site of the Tovuz region of the Azerbaijan-Armenia state border.
At the same time, the villages of Agdam, Dondar Gushchu and Vahidli of the Tovuz region were fired from large-caliber weapons and mortars. There are no casualties among the civilian population.
Currently, there are fights in this direction. Our units control the operational situation.
The public will be further informed.
Charles Michel calls Azerbaijan and Armenia for urgent de-escalation and full ceasefire
On 16 November, President of the European Council Charles Michel called on Azerbaijan and Armenia for urgent de-escalation and full ceasefire following a new escalation of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh.
Michel had two separate phone calls with Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, and with President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.
“Challenging situation in region – EU is committed to work with partners to overcome tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus,” President Michel said on Twitter.
The opening ceremony of the "VICTORY CUP" mini-football tournament
The opening ceremony of the "VICTORY CUP" mini-football tournament dedicated to the first anniversary of the 44-day Patriotic War was held in Tbilisi.
The football tournament was organized by Azerbaijani Business Association in Georgia (AZEBI) in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and SOCAR Georgia.
South Caucasus in the new geopolitical realities
By Zaal Anjaparidze
While foreign policy identities so significantly diverge in the South Caucasus (SC), there is one key common denominator that ties the regional counties together – the interconnectedness of security risks. Those risks together with the opportunities have become more visible and tangible after the latest 44-day war in Karabakh, which entailed new geopolitical realities in the region. What is worth noting part of the risks and opportunities for SC countries largely emanate from the immediate neighborhood. On the other hand, the interconnected and interdependent nature of security in the SC goes beyond its neighborhood, because each country - Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan has its own complex and multilayered geopolitical identity.
In this context, the initiative of a six-nation cooperation platform comprising Turkey, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia initiated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2020, shortly after the end of the war over the disputed Karabakh created a window of opportunity for permanent peace, stability, and cooperation in the region. At the same time, the initiative has stumbled over the existing contradictions between some of the named member-states. The exemplary case was the statement by Georgia’s Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani that albeit Tbilisi finds it “very hard” to join the “3+3 platform,” the country should still seek ways to engage in the prospective infrastructure projects in the region. His statement was promptly disavowed by the other Georgian officials. They underlined that Georgia will not join “3+3 format” because of the presence of Russia with whom Georgia disrupted diplomatic relations after the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 and occupation of Georgia’s secessionist regions by Russia after recognition of their state independence. Georgian Foreign Ministry claimed that the engagement of Georgia in the major geopolitical projects should not be undertaken at the expense of national interests and concessions to the occupier country (Russia).
While Russia-leaning groups in Georgia support “3+3” platform arguing that Georgia must pursue pragmatic and realistic politics reckoning with its neighborhood and geopolitical environment, pro-western forces vehemently oppose it. They consider the engagement of Georgia, the sole ally of the West, in the “3+3” platform where the EU and USA are absent will definitely result in damaged relations with the western partners. Besides, opponents of “3+3” platform argue that Georgia and Armenia will be in this alliance rather as “junior partners” than equitable members as compared to more powerful Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan.
It’s worth noting that recently Russia has decided to revitalize “3+3 format.” Most likely Moscow did so either to pursue its own interests and gain more dominance in the region, or play along with Turkey in order to prevent attempts of the West to reclaim the ground in the region that it has lost after the second war in Karabakh.
However, it’s still unclear how and whether “3+3” format will be able to keep the mutually acceptable balance of political, military and economic interests. The attitude of Iran is exemplary in this context. If the geopolitical order in the South Caucasus before the second war in Karabakh has been relatively acceptable for Tehran, nowadays the situation is different. Iran is sending clear signals to Azerbaijan and Turkey about the unacceptability of the changed geopolitical reality in the region. Thus, Tehran is going to play a more proactive role in the formation of the new rules of the game in South Caucasus and not only politically. Iran has already has announced an agreement between Iran and Armenia for establishing a new alternative transit route for Iranian trucks bypassing the Azerbaijan-controlled 20-km section, where the trucks are required to pay tolls. The northern part of the route will go through Georgia. Like Tehran, Moscow is also not happy with the excessive strengthening of the role of Turkey and Azerbaijan in the region.
However, whatever the plans of the initiators of “3+3,” the initiative largely remains declarative, so far and there are no tangible indicators that it will be “fleshed out” in the near future. Geopolitical contradictions between the key players of the “3+3” format – Russia, Turkey, and Iran, the persisting confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia and standalone Georgia, with its pro-western stance, make materialization of “3+3” even more uncertain
Despite various speculations, today the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia seems more realistic because the second war in Karabakh has changed a lot from the geopolitical and geo-economical points of view. Presumably, reckoning with these new realities Armenia perceives the situation in the more realistic prism. Improvement of relations with Turkey, including the opening of borders and new transport communications are the tools that could relieve long-term bilateral confrontation and contribute to peace in the region.
Georgia lacks official military-political allies in difference from Armenia and Azerbaijan. Strengthening the influence of Russia and Turkey around Georgia with the weakening influence of the West in the region leaves Georgia in a vulnerable position. This affects Georgia’s role as a transit country and may leave it on the margins of anticipated grand regional projects.
Russia and Turkey are highly likely to do their best to lure Georgia somehow into the “3+3” platform and persuade Armenia to join the platform despite persisting tensions with Azerbaijan.
It appears that Tbilisi and Yerevan must decide whether the benefits of joining “3+3” in any form will overweigh geopolitical risks. These risks are far greater for Georgia because joining “3+3” may significantly damage its relations with the West. These relations are already strained due to the latest political developments in the country highly criticized by the West.
Fragile peace after the armistice in Karabakh supported by Russian peacekeepers and the Turkish military observers revealed a tangle of problems waiting for settlement. Currently the most notable are the continued tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia manifested in the armed clashes at times and increasing tensions between Azerbaijan and Iran. The latter considers itself unfairly outflanked during the peace talks on the resolution of the latest Armenian-Azerbaijani armed conflict.
By repeated but still less successful attempts to act as a mediator in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Georgia is highly likely aiming at finding its unique niche in the new geopolitical realities. However, subdued reactions from Baku and Yerevan indicate that none of them is in the mood to see Georgia as a key mediator given the Russian and Turkish factors. Georgia, which perhaps has more at stake in peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia than does any other third country, has ample reason for concerns over the actions of Turkey to say nothing about Russia. Ankara’s new geopolitical assertiveness is a wild card with unpredictable implications for Tbilisi. Possible Turkish-Armenian reconciliation will enhance Armenia’s regional role and will offer the latter a better bargaining position with Georgia with the attendant consequences.
The complex geopolitical theatre of the South Caucasus exerts significant influence on the foreign policy identities of the region’s countries. Intra-regional conflicts make the region highly exposed to the influences of its larger neighbors, which play a significant role in shaping the regional security dynamics.
At the same time, membership within or orientation towards the conflicting alliances strengthens intra-regional rifts, further decreasing the chances of peaceful conflict resolution in the region. To this end, “3+3” platform can be considered as one of the possible but not an ideal tool for keeping a relative balance of powers and interests of the key regional players. But the attempt to supplant the West as a non-regional player, is fraught with risks given the strategic interests of the latter in the regions.
Despite the strong divergence in foreign policy and alliance choices of the three South Caucasus states, strategic multilateral partnerships within the region and with the region’s immediate neighbors, appear to be the best possible option to transform fragile stability into a lasting cooperation framework, which in turn is a path to sustainable peace. However, existing tensions between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia on the delimitation and demarcation of state borders, as well as ownership of historical-cultural monuments in the disputed border areas, don’t contribute to the development of full-fledged partnership.
Prime Minister of Georgia Meets President of Azerbaijan
Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia started his visit to the Republic of Azerbaijan with an interface meeting hosted by President Aliyev at Zagulba Palace today.
High level of strategic partnership existing between the two countries was highlighted at the meeting along with an active political dialogue and intensive cooperation towards trade and economy. President Aliyev thanked Irakli Garibashvili for taking part in the Intergovernmental Council on Economic Cooperation in Baku, thereby noting that Azerbaijan as a friendly nation is happy for the success the Government of Georgia achieved in every field.
"Dear Prime Minister, welcome to Azerbaijan. It is a great joy to host you in our country. It is your second visit this year. We have had several important meetings, discussing a number of issues related to our bilateral relations. Today we are continuing our political dialogue between the two brotherly nations, which is always very active.
We are cooperating rather closely on foreign policy matters in our region. New challenges have emerged, along with new opportunities. Our relations are not only beneficial for our nations, but for the entire region as well.
I have reviewed the statistics and noticed that we have made significant progress in terms of economy and trade volumes. Today we shall hold an Intergovernmental Commission Meeting, which will discuss the current situation and plan steps ahead. It is very promising that Georgia has a positive investment environment and economic reforms, which have addressed a number of social and economic problems.
Congratulations! And as a friendly nation, we take great joy in the success stories of your government in every field. I wish you success personally to you and your government.
Today we are also considering the traditional directions of our cooperation: natural air and oil transportation, as well as implementing projects that are already bringing benefits to us. Through them Azerbaijan and Georgia have developed an outstanding form of cooperation, as these projects are significant not only for our countries, but for many other states of the Eurasian region.
I am confident that your visit today will give a new impetus to our cooperation. Thank you for agreeing to my invitation and once again welcome to Azerbaijan!" stated Ilham Aliyev.
The Prime Minister of Georgia expressed his gratitude to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for a warm welcome and hospitality.
Irakli Garibashvili noted that Georgia is keenly interested in strengthening bilateral political, economic, cultural and other types of links with Azerbaijan, along with ensuring peace and stability in the region to ensure economic development.
"Mr. President, thank you very much for your invitation. It is a great joy to visit Baku. Thank you once again for your warm welcome and hospitality. It is an excellent opportunity for discussing our exemplary bilateral relations. As you already noted, we are friendly, brotherly nations.
We will be holding the 8th Meeting of an Intergovernmental Economic Council to discuss our bilateral relations, which are actively advancing even today. Georgia is indeed interested in strengthening our bilateral political, economic, cultural and other types of connections. Our best interests also include peace and stability in the region, which paves the way to a solid economic development.
This is my second visit this year and as Mr. President has noted, we have had conversations over the phone a number of times. Today we are discussing topics related to our future plans. I am confident that this meeting will also be very productive" noted Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Interview: CPC plays leading role in China's rejuvenation, development -- Azerbaijani deputy PM
TBILISI, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is determining factor behind China's great changes and remarkable achievements, said Ali Ahmadov, deputy prime minister of Azerbaijan and vice chairman of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party.
"The CPC has been playing a crucial role in China's rejuvenation and development cause. Without the CPC, there would not be a new China today," he said in a recent video interview with Xinhua.
"The clever integration of national macro-control and market regulation has created one of the most efficient economic management models in the world today," Ahmadov said.
The CPC has a strong political mobilization capacity of uniting all the social forces of China to commit to serving the people, which has consequently attracted firm support from the masses, he said.
The rapid development of China's economy, Ahmadov said, has fully proved the system superiority of the CPC, which enables the country to focus on accomplishing major tasks.
"The wise leadership of the CPC is the main reason for China's rapid economic development," and the great achievements of a country cannot be separated from the wisdom of its leaders, he noted.
President Xi Jinping's proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative has received wide support from people in China and across the world, he said.
"Azerbaijan fully supports this endeavor and is doing its utmost to implement it," he added.
Ahmadov hailed the friendship and cooperation between the New Azerbaijan Party and the CPC as "an important part of the friendly relations between the two countries."
As for the cooperation between the two countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Azerbaijani official described it as "a good example for countries around the world."
"We are very grateful to our Chinese friends for promptly providing the vaccines to Azerbaijan. Many Azerbaijani people, including me, have been vaccinated with the Chinese vaccines, which makes us feel more secure," he said.
"It is my firm belief that under the leadership of the CPC, China is bound to score greater achievements in the future," Ahmadov said.
(Video reporter: Li Ming; Video editors: Zhao Yuchao, Su Chuanyi, Chen Meng, Geng Pengyu).