>>Baku looks for neutrality on Russia’s moves in Crimea
//March 19 (The Conway Bulletin) – Issues of sovereign integrity are close to Azerbaijan’s heart. Its government, after all, still lays claim to Nagorno-Karabakh — the mountainous region in the South Caucasus that Azerbaijan and Armenia fought over in the early 1990s.
A UN organised cease-fire still holds the peace in Nagorno-Karabakh, ruled by pro-Armenia forces.
All this makes Russia’s moves in Crimea more complex for Azerbaijan to deal with. Just how does it position itself?
Relations with Russia have been strained over the past few years but it still doesn’t want to antagonise its large, and powerful neighbour.
Azerbaijan has also become increasingly important to the West over its energy supplies and deliveries.
In short it needs to tread a careful line.
This is what Azerbaijani foreign minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, looked as if he was trying to achieve when he told a press conference: “We want a speedy solution to all these issues in Ukraine. Azerbaijan respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all nations.” (March 13)
Neither an endorsement of Russia’s policies in Crimea nor a call for Russian forces to pull out of Ukraine.
This article was first published in issue 176 of The Conway Bulletin. For more info, click here