Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 30 / Trend S.Agayeva /
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's forthcoming visit to Azerbaijan is important not only for Baku, but also for Moscow itself in terms of expanding and strengthening bilateral relations, the Azerbaijani independent political scientist, Professor at the Western University, Trend Expert Council member, Fikret Sadikhov, said.
Sadikhov regards mutual interests, which Azerbaijan has in the Russian Federation and Russia has in the South Caucasus, particularly, in Azerbaijan, as the second factor.
"It's no secret that Azerbaijan is a major key regional player, which determines the priorities for international cooperation in many areas and impacts on some of the processes occurring in the region," Sadikhov said.
The Kremlin Press Service announced today that President Medvedev will visit Azerbaijan on Sept. 2-3, RIA Novosti reported.
Russia is interested in expanding relations with Azerbaijan - an important strategic partner in terms of geopolitics, strengthening its interests and positions, and Moscow relies on Baku on this issue, Sadikhov said.
"Russia has a rather complicated situation in the North Caucasus, and it needs additional levers and instruments that would strengthen its position in the South Caucasus region. Russia needs partners, who could implement those interests, and Russia sees Azerbaijan as a friendly state, which does not hold an anti-Russian course and does not oppose itself to Russia's interests, unlike some of our other neighbors. In this aspect, of course, we understand the interests of Russia," he noted.
Sadikhov believes that on this background Azerbaijan should do everything to make Russia understand that in order to promote its interests in the region and strengthen its position in Azerbaijan, Russia, as co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group, as one of the leading players in the region that could play a decisive role in settling the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, should voice its position, put the necessary pressure and influence on its ally - Armenia, with which has concluded a supplementary agreement and prolonged the agreement on a military base in Gyumri.
The agreement was signed between Russia and Armenia, and renews Moscow's lease on the base for 24 years, RIA Novosti reported. The agreement was undersigned by the Armenian and Russian defense ministers.
Russia's 102nd Military Base has been accommodated in northern Armenia since 1995. The base operates in the framework of the CIS United Air Defense System. It is managed by the Russian troops in Transcaucasia - Russia's North-Caucasian Military District. The base is equipped with S-300 and MiG-29 anti-aircraft missile system.
"We are ready to understand the strategic interests of Russia, but we must see reciprocity in response. We have to see that Russia is trying to effectively influence, not taking the equidistant position from the sides of the conflict, and actively intervenes in the processes," Sadikhov noted.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
"Here is important not the Russian leadership's sympathies to Azerbaijan, but an objective and fair approach, based on the norms and principles of international law, which adopted a mass of resolutions and decisions condemning Armenia, calling and demanding it to withdraw from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. In this sense, Russia should voice its weighty utterance," Sadikhov stressed.
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