Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 2
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's short-term visit to Baku, as previously assumed, was not widely covered in the media; nor was the meeting between Lavrov and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov.
This underlined that the conversation on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement between the foreign minister of a co-chairing country of the OSCE Minsk Group and the foreign minister of one of the sides of the conflict was private and concerned the settlement of the protracted territorial conflict.
However, the media reported about the meeting between Minister Lavrov and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on September 1. There the Russian side reiterated that the relations with Azerbaijan are being developed intensively and assured the president that the positions on all strategic issues of international relations between Moscow and Baku coincide.
An important point should be stressed here. The policy of balance, which became the basis of the foreign policy of Azerbaijan, bears fruit.
The benefits of such a policy become especially obvious in times of crisis, like the present one, when the old close allies, or conversely, irreconcilable opponents use the situation and draw their own benefits through relations with "big brother", often to the detriment of the latter.
The protests in Armenia, which resulted in more anti-Russian sentiments, and the necessary actions, i.e. lowering the prices for Russian gas, as well as the Russian gas giant Gazprom's trial with Turkmenistan due to inability to pay for Turkmen fuel, and Europe's sanctions due to its stance on Ukraine have today caused a series of major political challenges for Russia.
Meanwhile, from the beginning, Baku wanted from the Kremlin nothing more than cooperation.
Azerbaijan hasn't been financially dependent on Moscow, and can today help Russia in many issues, ranging from the replacement of European food products in the Russian markets with Azerbaijani quality goods, to fruitful interaction at the UN, the Council of Europe and other international institutions.
Despite the changing geopolitical realities, Azerbaijan continues to cooperate with Russia on the Caspian Sea, in humanitarian and security spheres.
In fact, Azerbaijan is the only country in the region with which Russia has equal conditions for cooperation in various spheres.
Moreover, given that Baku has good relations with all neighbors in the region and Russia sometimes has tense relations with some of them, Baku can become a mediator in establishing relations between Russia and Georgia, Turkmenistan or Turkey.
Taking into account all the abovementioned factors, Lavrov's visit to Baku and the meetings held there can be regarded as constructive for both sides.
Perhaps, in response to Azerbaijan's readiness to help Moscow, Lavrov has brought offers of assistance to Baku in resolving the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Edited by CN
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff writer