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Aliyev's luck and Pashinyan's fiasco ... in Brussels

  10
11:00 14-07-2018
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BY POLITICS SECTION

On July 11, developments took place in Brussels, testifying to yet another success of Azerbaijan's foreign policy. In the final resolution of the NATO summit, the territorial integrity of the countries of the South Caucasus, including Azerbaijan, was unequivocally recognised.

On the same day, in the presence of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and President of the Council of the European Union Donald Tusk, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini initialled the document 'Partnership Priorities,' in which for the first time in many years the support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was fixed in the context of the inviolability of the international borders of the state.

Signing ceremony of the strategic document

Both events preceded the first meeting of E.Mammadyarov and his new Armenian counterpart Z.Mnatsakanyan, which was organised the same evening by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Thus, NATO once again demonstrated a unified and long-term approach to resolving the conflicts and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, confirming the unchanged position in the last decade without any differentiation of countries and conflicts.

Attempt of small blackmail, undertaken by the chairman of the committee on international relations of the National Assembly of Armenia Armen Ashotyan on the eve of the NATO summit failed miserably. As is known, a few days before the meeting in Brussels, Ashotyan said: 'We have always received invitations [referring to the activities of the alliance - Ed], but rarely accepted them, given the position expressed in the final documents of the summits of this structure on regional conflicts, where they were not differentiating frozen conflicts and, as a rule, the advantage was given to the territorial value of the region. It is absolutely clear that the Karabakh conflict is radically different from all the others. For us, geopolitical speculation on this issue and the imperative of territorial integrity in NATO's positions are unacceptable.

If in the final document of the NATO summit there is very harsh language on issues of interest to Armenia, I will propose not to participate in it, whereas direct contact of the new government with the EU can be organised at another time and on another occasion, without combining the NATO event and the Armenia-EU agenda.'

And shortly before that, Nikol Pashinyan, misleading the public of his country, announced that his trip to Brussels would take place depending on the final document of NATO. All that despite the fact that the new head of Armenia was well aware of the unfavourable content of this document for Armenia and that he would certainly go to Brussels, as the text of the final resolution and the program of trips of the first persons to such events are agreed upon weeks before their arrival. What did he expect is not known, but the attempt to sit on two chairs was clearly not successful...

Pashinyan cannot find answers to questions

Everything happened exactly contrary to the wishes of the Armenian side. NATO reaffirmed the imperative of territorial integrity in the settlement of conflicts, but this did not prevent Pashinyan from seeking an audience with the leadership of the EU and NATO in order to obtain new subsidies to support the 'long-suffering people.'

As for the European Union, cooperation with which the Armenian parliamentarian proposed to 'differentiate from relations with anti-Armenian NATO,' then this international organisation on July 11 demonstrated an even more uncomfortable position for the official Yerevan than the alliance.

In the bilateral document on 'Partnership Priorities' between the EU and Azerbaijan, the territorial integrity of our country is considered exclusively in the context of the inviolability of its international borders.

Thus, the EU put an end to the attempts of official Yerevan to transfer Armenia's own interpretation of international legal norms to the political platform of Brussels. The document signed by the EU and Azerbaijan neutralised many of the propaganda fabrications of the occupation regime.

First, the Armenian side's efforts failed to present all the documents approved by the European and North Atlantic institutions in support of the territorial integrity of the post-Soviet countries involved in the conflict as having no direct relation to Azerbaijan, since Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are not mentioned in them. Baku, they say, can hope for the support of its territorial integrity only in tandem with Tbilisi, Chisinau and Kyiv. However, in the past three years, EU top officials already regularly declare their support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in a bilateral format.

On July 11, happened what Azerbaijan have been waiting for a long time: support for the territorial integrity of the state was reinforced by the formulation of the NATO summit on the inviolability of its international borders. Moreover, for the first time in many years, this most important clarification was also found in the bilateral official document signed by the EU and Azerbaijan. There is a clear and direct, regardless of other countries, support for the comprehensive sovereignty of Azerbaijan.

Second, the document initialed by the EU and Azerbaijan prepared for Yerevan's long-term speculations about the correlation of the principles of territorial integrity and the right of nations to self-determination the fate of the infamous 'Armenicum.' The document clearly shows that for the European Union this right ends where international borders of states begin. And the Republic of Azerbaijan in this case is not an exception, but an example for using the principle confirmed in the document on priorities of cooperation by other states.

Aliyev and Tusk

And, finally, no document signed at such a high level of NATO or the EU can be adopted without the consensus of all participating countries. And if, in the case of NATO's final statement, the Armenians, as usual, tried to use the traditional rhetoric about 'insidiousness' of Turkey, then the document initialled between the EU and Azerbaijan cannot be interpreted in the same vein. According to the EU procedures, none of the documents under the signature of Federica Mogerini can be adopted without the prior consensus of all 28 member countries. Including France, which is difficult to suspect in antipathies towards Armenia.

By and large, this time at the headquarters of NATO and the EU, documents were adopted almost simultaneously with an unambiguous position on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Moreover, coordinated with the two countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group: the United States and France. Moreover, Paris has given unprecedented consent to the use of language in the bilateral document of the EU with Azerbaijan on supporting the territorial integrity of the country, coupled with the inviolability of international borders. Thus, two of the three co-chairs determined the essence of their approaches to the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

At the same time, the third co-chair, Russia, through the words of its Security Council Secretary N.Patrushev, confirmed Moscow's position in favour of a gradual settlement of the conflict.

Patrushev

Thus, practically all three co-chairs of the Minsk Group directly or indirectly introduced into the negotiation process the elements that put Armenia in a difficult situation on the eve of the meeting of the foreign ministers in Brussels.

And if the Azerbaijani FM came to this meeting with the luggage of the clear messages of the co-chairing countries of the Minsk Group, the EU and NATO, the Armenian FM did not have anything new, except the grave legacy of Sargsyan-Nalbandyan.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, if he really wants to conduct a diplomatic dialogue with his Azerbaijani counterpart, will need to have something more tangible in his hands than unobvious hopes for the 'soft power' of the West and the military machine of Moscow...

Negotiations between Mammadyarov and Mnatsakanyan

The European Union did not come at once to the July 11 document on supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan on the basis of the principles of inviolability of international borders of states. Back in 2011, the secretariat of the then President of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, disavowed his promise to support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, publicly expressed by him during his trip to the countries of the South Caucasus.

Aliyev and Barroso

The same EU officials thwarted the signing in June 2013 of the Joint Declaration on the results of the visit of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Brussels only because the Azerbaijani side proposed to fix mutual recognition (not even support!) of the territorial integrity of the parties. In 2015, the policy of double standards had an impact on the draft final statement of the Riga Summit of the Eastern Partnership, in which the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict was characterised in a different context than the conflicts in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The President of Azerbaijan then refused to participate in the Riga summit and kept his word. In contrast, by the way, to Pashinyan, who, although shaking the air with exclamations to refuse to travel to the current NATO summit in the case of the 'unacceptable' text of the final statement, still went there and was forced to swallow the text of the statement, which is indigestible for Yerevan, affirming the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and ways to resolve the conflict on the basis of norms and principles of international law!

Moreover, in 2015, President Ilham Aliyev instructed the Azerbaijani delegation to vote against the text of the joint statement of the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit, which was to be adopted on the basis of the consensus of all participating countries. As a result, the document was adopted with the reservation of the Azerbaijani delegation accepted as part of the Joint Statement.

Riga Summit of the Eastern Partnership

The significance of what happened at the Riga summit can not be overestimated. The head of the Azerbaijani state showed that Azerbaijan can both limit bilateral relations with the EU solely to the economic agenda, and might in general withdraw from the 'Eastern Partnership.'

It was from May 2015 that the countdown began for the perception of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by the world public opinion. In July 2015, Donald Tusk made a visit to Baku, where he made an official statement on unambiguous support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the need to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of norms and principles of international law. In February 2016, this support was confirmed in the statement of Federica Mogherini during her visit to Baku. On her insistence, the thesis on supporting the 'territorial integrity of the EU countries and its neighbours, while respecting the principle of inviolability of borders' was included in the doctrine document of the European Union 'The Global Strategy for Foreign Policy and Security' adopted at the EU summit in July 2016 and became a key document of the organisation in this sphere.

Aliyev and Mogherini

Tusk again officially announced the EU's support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan during President Ilham Aliyev's visit to Brussels in February 2017. This position, coupled with the EU's single approach to resolving all conflicts in the partner countries, was reaffirmed at the Brussels summit of the Eastern Partnership in November 2017. And on December 13 last year, the European Parliament adopted a 'Resolution on Foreign Policy and Security,' where it clearly stated the EU commitments to support the territorial integrity of all the countries of the 'Eastern Partnership' within the internationally recognised borders.

Thus, by July 2018, this principle was already fixed in the doctrinal documents of both the executive and parliamentary institutions of the EU, as well as in the multilateral statements of the heads of state and government. Moreover, the EU has unambiguously demonstrated a unified approach to the settlement of conflicts on the territory of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan.

And, finally, on July 11 of this year the principle of supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognised borders was fixed in the bilateral document of the EU with Azerbaijan.

The reasoning that the EU itself has faced the threats of separatism in the EU countries and was compelled to come out with support for the territorial integrity of its neighbours looks at least incomprehensible. Politics knows quite a few examples when global and regional players are ruthlessly fighting 'internal' separatism, while supporting, or at least ignoring violations of territorial integrity outside their borders. What prevented the European Union, which, of course, is such a player, continue the policy of differentiation of approaches to conflict resolution in 'its own' Spain, associated Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and neutral Azerbaijan?

Or rather, who could stop it? The answer is obvious. Diplomatic success in Brussels is the foreign policy victory of Ilham Aliyev, achieved as a result of a correct assessment of political trends in world politics, the role and potential of the country in European projects, and the ability to make the most of the situation in the national interest.