Informal CIS Summit: what to expect for Azerbaijan?

Politics Materials 28 December 2021 14:17 (UTC +04:00)
Informal CIS Summit: what to expect for Azerbaijan?

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 28

By Jani Babayeva - Trend:

The traditional informal meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will take place on Dec. 28 in St. Petersburg, Trend reports.

This event will be another opportunity for a meeting between President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan.

The last meeting of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia took place in Brussels on December 14 at the initiative of the President of the Council of the European Union Charles Michel. Following the meeting, President Ilham Aliyev stated that the discussions with the prime minister of Armenia, which lasted for about five hours, were held in a constructive atmosphere.

The meeting of the heads of state of the CIS will possibly provide the two countries with another platform to move forward in resolving the remaining issues.

According to Darya Grevtsova, a political scientist and deputy director of the Russian Institute for Political Studies, the leaders' participation in the summit of the CIS countries will help them sum up the year and specifically discuss joint plans for next year.

"Of course, there are many questions, first of all, the challenges that countries have faced this year - the coronavirus and the fight against the pandemic. In this matter, joint efforts have big importance," she said.

Grevtsova noted that most likely within the framework of the event a meeting between President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan will take place.

“We know that recently Pashinyan stopped denying the signing of a peace treaty, that he is ready to open communications and discuss specific issues on the demarcation and delimitation of borders, and possibly also incidents at the border to prevent them next year," Grevtsova further said.

According to the Russian political scientist, Pashinyan, on the one hand, wants economic growth and development for Armenia, so he understands this possibility only through lifting the economic blockade and opening all communications.

"Therefore, it will be so important for him to build normal relations with both Azerbaijan and Turkey. However Pashinyan also wants to appear in front of the West as a pro-Western politician,” she said. “Apparently there will be some kind of two-sided game – he will show that he’s ready to cooperate with Russia, to fulfill any requirements, and simultaneously wants to cooperate with the West, to receive certain preferences and loans from it.”

“That is, we can say that Pashinyan wants to sit on two chairs. This is certainly difficult, but let's see how much and what will be more profitable for him next year because, without cooperation with Russia, the economic development of Armenia is very difficult,” Grevtsova also noted. “Its main neighbor, as well as a huge Armenian community, lives in Russia, which sends funds to Armenia to its relatives, therefore there are a lot of ties with Russia. So contacts with the West are of course important, but without Russia, it will be difficult for Pashinyan to fulfill the goals he would like to achieve - the economic growth and economic development of Armenia," added the expert.

According to the well-known Russian political expert, director of the Institute of Contemporary State Development Dmitry Solonnikov, at present, the CIS is no more a structure created for a civilized divorce or an opportunity to divide the legacy of the USSR and disperse to "homes" as it was said when the organization [CIS] was created.

"Now the CIS is more likely an integration institution, which is considering the possibility of creating some unified rules for regulating relations between states that have formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In this regard, the expectation from the meeting is more likely related to these issues. The meeting will be held on the eve of the New Year, and therefore, of course, no principled, tense and painful issues will be raised there, but there will be discussed issues in several areas - first of all, what is on the agenda now is the tension on the external borders of the CIS,” Solonnikov said.

“There will probably be three main vectors - the situation in the West, what no doubt worries Belarus, the situation on the border with Afghanistan, what worries the countries of Central Asia, as well as the difficult situation with Iran. These are three tense issues that undoubtedly concern everyone, including Russia,” the expert noted. “Although neither the first, nor the second, nor the third directly border Russia, it’s painful for Russia when its allies, countries belonging to a friendly association, have border problems. Therefore, the security of external borders will, of course, be discussed.”

As he emphasized, the development of integration ties may be discussed at the meeting, and in this regard, the meeting between President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is one of these program points.

"The fact that Pashinyan has already said that Armenia supports the trend towards signing a full-fledged agreement with Azerbaijan shows that the painful knot in the South Caucasus will also be resolved, and movement in this direction will be realized,” Solonnikov also noted. “This will require to undertake a lot of measures mentioned earlier and at the trilateral negotiations, including the demarcation of the border, the work of specialists in the Russian General Staff, where accurate maps from the Soviet period have been preserved, describing the borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and after that work on the ground, apparently in the spring and summer, will be conducted. How all this will be technically organized, it will be possible to talk about it at the meeting on December 28.”

According to the expert, the meeting parties will also discuss large infrastructure projects in the CIS.

"It’s expected that the meeting will be held in a positive manner. 2022 is expected to be a year of positive decisions, and the meeting before the New Year will be aimed at them," Solonnikov concluded.

The CIS is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and at the meeting of the leaders of the Commonwealth countries, the discussion will focus on the need for cooperation and interaction. In particular, at a possible meeting of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, the talk can be about improving relations and the situation between the two countries. The Azerbaijani side is always open to political dialogue and welcomes such contacts. The position of Azerbaijan in terms of the realities of the post-conflict period has been repeatedly voiced by its president also on international platforms. In this context, a meeting that may be held in St. Petersburg will create additional opportunities.