Pundit on importance of ties between Baku & Minsk in exclusive interview with Azernews
Azernews' exclusive interview with Professor Alexander Tikhansky of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences on what holds the scheduled May 18 working visit of Belarus Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko to Azerbaijan.
- What are to expect from the visit of Belarus Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko to Azerbaijan? What are topics to be touched upon during the visit?
Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko will pay a working visit to Azerbaijan on May 18. The focus of the visit is concrete and practical in general. If the Azerbaijani side is not interested in some areas, maybe, they have more favorable proposals from other states, then we need to find new ones. That is, in general, how Golovchenko announced ahead of his visit to Azerbaijan. The visit also includes the need to consider if there are opportunities to increase trade turnover under the tough western sanctions regime, in which the Republic of Belarus finds itself. Therefore, today it is simply necessary for both Azerbaijan and Belarus to get a real, so to speak, a cross-section of the situation, and identify points of growth that we can promote and substantively discuss. This is the main goal of this visit.
- What are your take on the current state and the development of the Azerbaijani-Belarus relations?
-In general, I would say that the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Belarus is a progressive process. We can find such a reference point to it on November 12 last year, when the president of Belarus received the Azerbaijani ambassador, and two days later President of Azerbaijan had an audience with the Belarus ambassador. And during those meetings, the exchange of opinions took place between Baku and Minsk.
Generally, it is well-known to all that formally the history of the Azerbaijani-Belarus diplomatic relations counts for more than a quarter of a century. They were established on June 11, 1993. It has gone a long and worthy way of progressive development. And I will even say that Belarus will never forget Azerbaijan's gesture toward Belarus. When it was necessary to pay off the gas debt to Russia, Azerbaijan lent money to Belarus without any commission, without interest. Yes, Belarus returned the money, but the point is that it was important to receive it back then. And in principle, Belarusians still remember it, I would say so. That's the situation today.
- What about the pandemic? How did it impact the bilateral ties?
In general, even the pandemic, we can say, did not affect our relations. I wrote down a quote - when Lukashenko received the Azerbaijani ambassador, he said that "true friends do not put off activities that need to be carried out in time, and no pandemic can interfere with that”.
That's how our relations are at the moment, including in the military-political sphere. Belarus has repeatedly stated that it wants to see Azerbaijan as a member of the CSTO, irrespective of Armenia's position.
- As you mentioned this sphere, what can you say about military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Belarus, and also what is your view on the current situation in the South Caucasus region?
- Belarus, as one of the key members of the CSTO, has always been in favor of peacekeeping initiatives. And although we have military-political, and military-economic relations both with Armenia and Azerbaijan, at the same time, I would like to recall that literally within 5-6 years military-technical cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan has reached almost half a billion dollars, I should note. Second, Azerbaijan is also the closest ally of Turkey and its direct position on the admission of new NATO members. It is very important for Belarus, and we understand perfectly well that Aliyev supports Erdogan in this respect. This is one side of the story. The second side of the matter is that I again come to that situation, which exists in the Caucasus, and that here in general such smoldering points and international terrorism and religious extremism exist, and accordingly, in this respect, we have common goals and a common task.
Interviewed by Ayya Lmahamad
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