Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 16
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:
Historic meeting between Joseph Francis Dunford, chairman of the Joint Committee of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Marine Corps general, and Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, on Feb. 16, 2017 in Baku, must be somewhat disturbing for Armenia, at least for the following reasons.
The fact that the heads of the armed forces of the two biggest world powers have chosen Baku as venue for the talks isn’t surprising. Azerbaijan has long become one of the most important geopolitical centers of the South Caucasus region.
Baku has repeatedly become a venue for holding major international events ranging from the numerous forums to mull the major challenges to discussions on transport initiatives and major energy issues.
However, the fact that top military officials of the US and Russia are meeting today, on Feb. 16, in Baku, also says that both countries rely on Azerbaijan as the host country and consider it the most successful platform for important negotiations.
This is beyond doubt that the negotiations of the Russian and US sides are important. The fact is that unlike ordinary protocol meetings, the meeting between Dunford and Gerasimov that has been prepared for a long time hasn’t been announced.
In general, this is a historic meeting, which marks the beginning of direct contacts, since Washington and Moscow suspended the cooperation in the military sphere in 2014. The two countries’ senior military officials haven’t met since that time. After a long break, Gerasimov and Dunford are meeting in Baku.
By the way, one of the proofs of the host country’s highest professionalism is the fact that the information was leaked before the meeting just by the US and then the Russian media, not by Azerbaijani media.
The subject of the discussions seems to be several topical issues of military cooperation between the two countries that today defines the situation in the whole region.
Today, one of the main issues is the establishment of direct and consecutive contacts between the servicemen of both countries to prevent potential failures.
While abstracting from the comprehensive agenda of relations between the two powers and taking into account the venue of the meeting, it becomes clear that Yerevan must think about Baku’s image in the international arena.
The international partners trust Baku, while Yerevan can not even dream about such trust.
After the escalation of the situation on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in April 2016, Yerevan was not supported by any member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), where Armenia is a member-state.
Moreover, after several attempts the CSTO member-states failed to find a new secretary general instead of Nikolai Bordyuzha due to a lack of the quorum required to vote for the candidate.
The fact is that Russia, in accordance with the rotation principle, promised the post of secretary general to Armenia’s representative. However, Kazakhstan and Belarus maintain close relations with Azerbaijan and were not ready to accept the Armenian candidate as the next secretary general of the CSTO.
This is not the only refusal of “partners” to deal with Yerevan. It is significant how fast Kazakhstan, now presiding in the Eurasian Economic Union, initiated the cancellation of the Yerevan meeting, scheduled to be held just at the height of Armenian aggression.
Kazakhstan said that due to the war, the meeting of prime ministers of the EEU member counties in Armenia is undesirable, and it would be better to hold it in Moscow. This is a clear message that Kazakhstan’s prime minister would not enter the Armenian territory while there are still hostilities with Azerbaijan – the country Kazakhstan has friendly relations with.
Against the background of total humiliation of Yerevan on all fronts, the trust of the US and Russia’s military bodies to Baku must be a terrible disappointment for Armenia. Though, it would be strange if the US and Russian senior military officials or any other international institutions and their representatives decided to meet in the territory of the occupant country.
US, Russian officials’ Baku meeting - sign of trust to Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 16