Vadim Gustav, the Chairman of the Council of Federation Committee of the Russian Federal Assembly, informed Trend in an exclusive interview that the relationship between Russia and Azerbaijan is good, but there are still issues to be resolved.
2008 and 2009 will be crucial in defining the outcome of bilateral relationships and integration processes. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict also leaves a mark on the relationship. It is definitely a restraining factor in President Ilham Aliyev's policy, he stated.
Gustav was surprised by GUAM's intention (the regional organization among Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova), to establish a peace-keeping force. Why is it needed? Azerbaijan would have to finance the peace-keeping force, will it not? This will involve a huge amount of money. Nothing should be expected from Georgia. What could we offer Moldova who has a 10,000-man army and has developmental difficulties? Ukraine is undergoing a complicated political crisis. Will Azerbaijan be financing them? All these questions should be answered, Gustav noted. Despite the satisfactory development of Russian-Azerbaijani relationships, there are still such issues in the political platform, which I think should not exist within bilateral relationships.
Gustav voiced his satisfaction with Azerbaijan's participation in the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, but noted that it does not participate in any other integrating body. It does not participate in the Eurasian Economic Union. The Americans are eager to deliver gas to Georgia from Azerbaijan so that to release Georgia from the Russian influence, whereas Azerbaijan itself needs gas. So, at present, whilst Americans are actively impacting on the Azerbaijani economy, this leads only to a one-sided development, he stressed.