On August 25, 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Azerbaijan as part of her South Caucasus tour. The agenda in Baku was saturated. The experts and officials assessed the results of the visit as fruitful.
During the talks, Azerbaijani and German officials managed to outline vectors for further development of bilateral relations and strengthening of mutual ties.
In an exclusive interview with Trend, Ramin Hasanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, spoke about the importance of the visit, its results, as well as the tasks set before Azerbaijani diplomats as a result of the visit.
About importance of visit of Federal Chancellor of Germany to Azerbaijan
Of course, the first visit of the head of the government of the country, which enjoys prestige in the EU, to Azerbaijan and is among the twenty first world economic powers, is an important, historic event.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has visited Berlin and Munich several times at the invitation of the chancellor of Germany to participate in the Munich Security Conference.
From this point of view, the German chancellor's visit to Azerbaijan has become a logical continuation of the high-level political dialogue.
On the other hand, as it is known, along with Azerbaijan, Merkel visited other countries of the South Caucasus. In this regard, the visit was also interesting from the point of view of objective assessment of the place and role of Azerbaijan in the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany, based on comparative analysis of meetings and statements made in the countries of the region with completely different levels of socio-economic development and foreign policy.
At the same time, the visit aroused great resonance among the German public representatives.
As I have already stressed, this was the first visit of the German chancellor to Azerbaijan and Armenia. At the same time, Germany's relations with the three countries of the region that are members of the Eastern Partnership program are of great interest in the context of the EU policy in the South Caucasus region.
Frankly speaking, some anti-Azerbaijani circles in Germany, spreading critical information about Azerbaijan, tried to cast a shadow on this visit. A vivid example is the artificial agiotage created in the media in connection with Albert Weiler, member of the Bundestag, included in the list of undesirable people for illegal visit to the occupied Azerbaijani lands.
However, the successful visit, its productive results, showed the true importance of the Azerbaijan-Germany relations. Attention both in the media and in official, political, economic and scientific and cultural circles was focused on the substantive issues that were discussed during the visit. Merkel's visit to Azerbaijan was assessed as successful and productive both in Azerbaijan and Germany.
Key factors that ensured successful outcome
Of course, for Germany Azerbaijan is the most important country in the South Caucasus, both politically and economically. This is connected not only with the fact that Azerbaijan is the locomotive of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which is of strategic importance for the EU and has a 70-percent share in the trade turnover between Germany and the South Caucasus.
Azerbaijan is also a country carrying out a completely independent policy. It is a country that opened the way for the region to the world markets through the oil strategy laid down by Azerbaijan’s National Leader Heydar Aliyev and since that period successfully cooperating with the world leading energy companies.
Azerbaijan is a country that has gained confidence of the world community. It is an important player, which played a pivotal role in the creation of a regional infrastructure for international cooperation.
Azerbaijanattaches great importance to the active political dialogue and equal cooperation with Germany. Germany is one of the first countries with which Azerbaijan established diplomatic relations.
There is a sincere political dialogue at the high level between our countries. German government circles appreciated substantive discussions on various issues that took place during the meeting of the chancellor of Germany and the president of Azerbaijan within the chancellor's visit.
German government circles stressed that these discussions are crucial from the point of view of the existing political cooperation between the two countries.
Another significant point is that during the visit to the countries of the South Caucasus, Merkel was accompanied by a delegation consisting of experts in the field of economy and only in Baku a business meeting was held with the participation of the political leaders of Azerbaijan and Germany.
While giving political assessment to the visit, German officials and experts point to the economic aspect, stressing that the visit created a good basis for diversifying and intensifying economic cooperation between our countries.
Indeed, at the meeting with businessmen, ideas on the work on specific joint projects were discussed and the corresponding instructions were given. Of course, mutual contacts established as a result of this meeting will contribute to bilateral economic cooperation.
One of the main issues on the agenda during Merkel’s visit to our country was the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Germany, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as our important partner in the EU, is in favor of just settlement of the conflict.
Berlinis always ready to contribute to the creation of a positive negotiating sphere between the conflicting parties. In Baku, Merkel stressed that the change of power in Armenia can improve the situation and give a push to the negotiation process.
As it turned out, as opposed to Azerbaijan, which supports constructive negotiations, Armenia is ready to avoid or sabotage negotiations to preserve the existing status quo.
Thus, Germany could use its political weight and economic capabilities for Armenia to sit at the negotiating table with the aim of resolving the conflict.
Prospects for bilateral relations opened following Merkel’s visit to Azerbaijan
The current level of relations between the two countries, the growing dynamics of relations, intensive contacts in various spheres, as well as fruitful conditions for the development of comprehensive relations between countries, being created following Merkel’s first visit to Azerbaijan, have set new tasks for Azerbaijani diplomats.
I think that Germany's more active role in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the promotion of political cooperation to the level of strategic partnership, more active participation of German companies in the Azerbaijani economy, the expansion of existing contacts in the humanitarian sphere, Germany’s closer acquaintance with culture and tourism opportunities of Azerbaijan are important tasks.
The assessment of existing opportunities in these issues and their use will be key indicators of our activity over the next years.