Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 22
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
Mention Azerbaijan and many will not have heard about the country in the UK, Director of Faith Matters and the Tell MAMA project Fiyaz Mughal wrote in his blog at Huffington Post newspaper website.
"Azerbaijan with its long running grievance over Nagorno-Karabakh continues to feel that a part of its territorial sovereignty has been violated by the actions of Armenia," he wrote.
"Military skirmishes continue to this day and even escalated more recently in July and August 2014."
He wrote that yet, beyond the killings, the conflict has also created one million refugees, most of them being Azerbaijani in ethnicity and such a dislocation of people has naturally created a deep grievance within many Azerbaijanis.
"Nagorno-Karabakh has sucked up the resources and focus of both countries which could have been used elsewhere," he wrote.
"Azerbaijan is a far cry from where the country was two or even three decades ago," Mughal wrote. "Natural resources, high levels of skilled workers and an impressive acceleration of development within the capital city, Baku, have transformed the nation."
He wrote that the trajectory of the country is moving in the right direction, with a leadership willing to listen, proud of its religious diversity and its heritage, and as a country at the cross-roads between East and West.
"This is one of the reasons why Azerbaijan should be a key military geo-strategic partner in the Caucasus for the United Kingdom," Mughal wrote. "Much like the heavy investment that the United Kingdom makes into Azerbaijan, of importance for the future are closer military and civic connections between the two countries."
He wrote that which is why the Nagorno Karabakh issue must be resolved and cannot be
allowed to fester.
"Today Azerbaijan is a stable, friendly, investable and valuable strategic partner, yet these opportunities are not maximised by Great Britain," the article says.
"Looking at Azerbaijan only through the lens of having a grievance means that this blinkered view restricts us from the real opportunities that this country provides," he wrote.
"The time really is now for the United Kingdom to take a lead in brokering some form of agreement based on United Nations resolutions," Mughal wrote. "Leaving the Kremlin to play the diplomat and honest broker between both parties simply means that Russia's influence on the region is maintained."