Experts: U.S strives to improve relations with Azerbaijan by reconsidering its foreign political positions

Experts: U.S strives to improve relations with Azerbaijan by reconsidering its foreign political positions

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 9 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /

The Administration of the White House intends to establish relations with Azerbaijan, deteriorated last year, recognizing the importance of the country as a strategic partner in the region, experts said.

"Azerbaijan can expect the U.S to make strong efforts to improve relations given the need for Azeri support in the continuing nine-year-long war in Afghanistan possibly reaching its climax, as well as Azerbaijan's geostrategic location regarding oil and possible membership in NATO," U.S expert on South Caucasus, professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University, Michael Gunter, said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates brought a letter from Barack Obama addressed to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during his visit to Baku June 6-7.

The head of the White House thanked the Azerbaijani leader for supporting of the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, and expressed hope for expanding and intensifying of the Azerbaijani-U.S ties.

"The United States recognize the important contribution of Azerbaijan in ensuring regional and international security. I hope that we will be able to broaden and deepen our relations in the next months and years," the letter said.

Gates also told about U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's expected visit to Baku.

The relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan have significantly deteriorated after Washington insisted on opening of the Turkish-Armenian border without considering the interests of Azerbaijan. The U.S. Congress's provision of humanitarian assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh to the amount of $8 million added fuel to the fire.

A resolution on so-called "genocide" of Armenians in March 2010 adopted by the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs played another negative role in the deterioration of the complex relations between Washington and Baku.

Experts said that after the failure of the Armenian-Turkish process, lobbied by the United States, Washington has revised some foreign political positions. It is now trying to mend relations with Baku.

The Obama letter, Biden and Clinton visits, and Bryza appointment are all part of the effort to improve U.S-Azeri relations, U.S expert on South Caucasus and Turkey, Professor of Government and Politics, Department of Public and International Affairs, Mark N. Katz, said. 

The Obama Administration that its previous effort to improve Turkish-U.S relations would lead to an improvement in Azeri-Armenian relations as well.  This, of course, did not occur, he said. 

"The Obama Administration now understands that Azerbaijan needs to be included in the diplomatic effort, Katz told Trend via e-mail. 

Azerbaijani political analyst Tofig Abbasov said that the U.S. definitely deals with restoration of shaky relations with Azerbaijan.

It is a paradox that the U.S lost much from the suspended state bonds, he said.

"I would say that their positions rapidly weaken in the Eurasian space. In case of loss of Azerbaijan, Americans can lose not only a major transit link, but also a partner with a positive image, which functionally affects the geopolitical situation in the region," "Lider-TV" analytic group expert Tofig Abbasov told Trend.

It is too bad that Washington made attempts to rein Azerbaijan, although the country does not deserve such a treatment, he said.

All of this means a more balanced U.S position regarding Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, Gunter said.

"The U.S appointment of Matthew Bryza further indicates the importance the U.S now places on Azerbaijan as Bryza is most knowledgeable concerning the post-Soviet situation," Gunter told Trend via e-mail.

Improvement of relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia is connected with a gradual reconsideration of some of foreign political actions by the United States that were taken during Barack Obama's administration in the White House at first, former Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan, deputy executive director of the Foundation "Russian world" Vasiliy Istratov said.

Istratov said that not all actions of the Obama administration were ready for enduring the test of time in long-term-prospect.

Now the Obama administration has to gradually re-from. The changes that occur in the relations of Azerbaijan and the U.S. are not associated with certain actions of Baku, but with Washington's position, in which a realistic interpretation of events prevailed, Istratov said.

"Many questions which the Obama administration wanted to solve by Cavalry raids on the international scene, not solved. For this reason, they return to certain basic points," - he said.

Time will tell how much one can derive benefit for the South Caucasus region, Istratov said.

Experts said that Azerbaijan began to play a large role for the U.S. and because of deteriorating relations between Ankara and Washington.

Just as importantly, with the deterioration in Turkish-American relations that has occurred, improving U.S-Azeri relations now appears to be both more urgent and more achievable than improving U.S-Turkish relations, Katz said.

Abbasov said that the U.S. really in a position to influence the improvement of the situation in the Caucasus region by pressing on Armenia for it to cease speculating by the myth of "genocide" and return to its former pre-war borders.

"Washington has all the tools and capabilities that include parallelization of efforts with Russia, France and other countries," he said.

He said that such a development will benefit not only Azerbaijan, but also the mediating countries, as recovery of the great powers' image lies through healthy and mediation.

Experts said that improvement degree of relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan depends on many factors.

Katz said that whether the U.S effort to improve relations with Azerbaijan will succeed, very much depends on whether the leadership in both countries want it to succeed enough to work at it, Katz said. 

It is possible that the U.S-Azeri relationship will now improve, but this is not inevitable, he said.

Therefore, if Azerbaijan is interested, its relations with the U.S stand to improve considerably in the near future, Gunter said.

However, Russia will certainly watch this development very closely, Gunter said.

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