Azerbaijan may become both lock and key of whole region for US
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.17
By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:
Despite the pressure exerted on Azerbaijan by the United States, Washington will not find a better ally in the region. A visit to Baku of the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland confirmed this fact.
The stick and the carrot policy is the most favorite one in US foreign policy, but if this method does not work, as, for example with Azerbaijan, Washington prefers to negotiate.
One would not expect any clear statements about the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani lands from the representative of a member country of the OSCE Minsk Group. However, Nuland surprised in a friendly way, stating the need to return the Azerbaijani hostages held by Armenia.
With focus now on Azerbaijan's perspective, recent events should remind the international community that the hostages are held by terrorists. In demanding the release of the hostages, it seems that the US wants to remind Armenia that Washington itself does not negotiate with terrorists but destroys them, and wants to protect Yerevan from it.
Azerbaijan's political and economic importance in the region for the US and Europe can't be overestimated.
Today, Azerbaijan, located between the eternal rivals of the US - Russia and Iran, is a key to Europe's energy security and a "door" through which Central Asian gas can get to the European markets.
Nuland herself said the Southern Gas Corridor is a joint project of Azerbaijan, the US and Europe.
What makes Azerbaijan so attractive for all players?
The realization of major energy projects gives the country an opportunity to pursue its own policy, not dependent on any force in the region. And the diversification of the routes of hydrocarbon supply (through Georgia, Turkey, Russia) makes Azerbaijan independent from any direction, which reduces the prospects of pressure on Baku.
Unlike other countries in the region, Azerbaijan's ability to pursue an independent policy makes it the most attractive partner for all players.
Currently, Armenia depends on Russia both politically and economically. Georgia, for its part is in a state of conflict with Moscow and is moving towards the West.
That makes Azerbaijan the only equivalent partner for all key players of the region.
Nevertheless, it is time to realize that Baku will be a partner only by taking into account its own interests, never to the detriment of its own policy and economy. Hopefully, the US has already begun to understand that.
Edited by CN
Seymur Aliyev is the head of Trend Agency's Russian News Service