After 2020 war I keep on asking myself on different occasions, well, what else could be more terrible than this to shake ourselves and make fundamental changes in our perceptions? I asked myself this question again on January 19 when Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ararat Mirzoyan commented on Aliyev’s statement that “the co-chairs should not deal with Nagorno Karabakh conflict since it has already been settled. We have settled this issue instead of them.”
“The position of Azerbaijan is one thing, the reality is another and the position of the international community another. The reality is that despite the position of Azerbaijan, served for a year or less that the NK issue is solved and that there is no issue and no NK, we have seen that the world does not agree with it at all and that the reality is not such either,” Ararat Mirzoyan had said.
The bitter reality though is that regardless of whether “the world” agrees or disagrees, Azerbaijan is consistently pushing forward its agenda. It has already put into operation an airport in the territories that passed under its control after the war, several airports are under active construction, it has built few hundred kilometers of roads and will launch a regular Baku-Shushi bus route, it has established a new military unit in Hadrut for special forces, it continues to acquire modern weapons. The list can be continued.
Ilham Aliyev allows himself to publicly accuse the United States of “one-sided pro-Armenian” position and visits Kyiv at a time when the clash between Russia and Ukraine seems inevitable. In both cases he does what derives from the interests of the policy he carries out and seems not to care much what “the world” will say – in this case America and Russia.
Since 1994 “the world” – at all levels – has made thousands of statements that resuming hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh is “inadmissible.” So what? Did this stop Ilham Aliyev in 2016 or 2020?
Ararat Mirzoyan says “public statements not always fully or partially coincide with the approaches discussed behind the closed doors.” Certainly they don’t and what? During Serzh Sargsyan’s presidency and after 2018 his teammates often recall Ilham Aliyev’s words that he “was being forced to recognize the independence of Nagorno Karabakh behind closed doors”.
It may have flattered us, but it did not work. And now the “incumbent” – blaming the “former” for everything – are trying to lay a soft pillow under our heads, saying that “the world does not agree.”
For several years now, I have been running 5/10/15 series on our website on Thursdays, which presents what happened in Armenia during the week 5, 10 and 15 years ago. In the latest issue, it was interesting to read from today’s vision the excerpts from the article of the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, which he wrote 15 years ago in The Wall Street Journal. He noted that Baku’s decision not to buy Russian gas and not to use the Russian oil-pipeline for the export of Azerbaijani oil to Europe “is a determining moment for Azerbaijan and the whole South Caucasus.”
“Practically in a moment the price for gas increased twice for us. It is something more than just a mere signal of the market, and it is unacceptable for Azerbaijan. As a response, we decided not to buy the Russian gas, as well as to stop using the Russian oil-pipeline for the export of the Azerbaijani oil to Europe. This is a determining moment for Azerbaijan and the whole South Caucasus. Azerbaijan sincerely wishes to have pragmatic relations with Russia, based on market principles, however, being an independent state, we are guided by our own national interests,” the Azerbaijani minister had written then.
I would have never thought I would write these words, but the fact is that back in 2007 Mammadyarov was right, their decision was really “determining” for the South Caucasus.
We did not realize it and neither did we try to create counterbalances, instead, to this day we continue to use with contempt “Azerbaijan – is an artificially created state” phrase and count on “the world’s disagreement.”
Ara Tadevosyan is Director of Mediamax.