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Azerbaijan’s sophisticated foreign & domestic policy accomplishments in 2022

30 December 2022 16:07 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan’s sophisticated foreign & domestic policy accomplishments in 2022
 Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
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The outgoing 2022 year highlights major aspects of Azerbaijan’s sophisticated domestic and foreign policy accomplishments, built on the triumphant victory of the 2020 Second Karabakh War, laying the groundwork for taking it to new heights in years to come.

The objective and comprehensive assessment of Azerbaijan’s versatile foreign policy, and its influence on the regional and global integration processes reveal the vitality of making a considerable contribution to the shaping of a reliable and predictable climate both in the region and the world. The conduct of sophisticated kid-glove diplomacy and policies in the conditions of a difficult situation in the region and the world have brought to fruition and ensured the national interests of Azerbaijan.

In consideration of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine that escalated the global geopolitical situation to the limit, Baku has succeeded in maintaining the foreign policy balance. Under such circumstances, it is back-breaking and strenuous to navigate through uncharted waters and find a place in the sun, and luckily Azerbaijan has coped with many of the difficult challenges.

Azerbaijan - Europe’s gas supplier

Summarizing the major outcomes of the outgoing year, one can judiciously ascribe it to the year of gas cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU. Events that have been unfolding since the Russian war in Ukraine proved fateful and of paramount importance for Azerbaijan as a reliable gas supplier for many European nations. The signing in July of a memorandum on strategic partnership in the energy sector between Azerbaijan and the EU and the commercial launch of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector (IGB) with a number of world leaders in their presence was a new proof of the nation's savior role.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called the IGB a great historic achievement and assured that Baku is doing its utmost to increase gas output to provide partners with natural gas. No wonder Baku is already called the guarantor of Europe's energy security.

No progress in the quest for peace

No great strides in Azerbaijani-Armenian relations were achieved in the outgoing year though high hopes in the middle of the year that a peace treaty was not far away. Armenia’s non-constructive position with a few days to go to the end of the year proves that no peace can be hammered out.

In 2022, negotiations on the restoration of transport and communication relations were held at the level of the deputy prime ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia. Three meetings on the border delimitation were also held and very little progress was made, and it is beyond any doubt that Armenia with its non-constructive policies must be held responsible.

Armenia has not yet honored several of the obligations contained in the November 10, 2020 peace deal. That is, the illegal Armenian armed formations remain on Azerbaijan’s territory, illicit exploitation of Karabakh’s natural resources continues, illegal immigration of third-country nationals to Lachin is still there and Baku has information about the deliveries of mines through the corridor.

Shusha – venue of significant events

A series of important events Azerbaijan held in 2022 designated its contribution to the wider regional peace and stability.

Among Azerbaijan’s large-scale projects in 2022, a special place is occupied by holding international events with the involvement of prominent political and public figures, and international experts from around the world in order to discuss global political, economic, and civilizational problems of modern time and a joint search for solutions. International events held in Azerbaijan demonstrate a high level of trust in the country and speak of Azerbaijan's authority in the international community. Azerbaijan is not only a venue for such events but is also one of their main participants and initiators.

The country's key efforts after the war and the liberation of the region from the Armenian yoke are aimed at creating transnational transport corridors in the South Caucasus and turning the region into an island of peace and cooperation. The prospects of the transport vectors of the Middle Corridor and the role of Azerbaijan in the formation of the relevant infrastructure were mulled at the November 25 international conference in Baku under the topic “Along the Middle Corridor: Geopolitics, Security and Economics”.

The conference looked into the security aspects of the Middle Corridor, its role in the development of the regional economic potential, and exchanged views on the significance of the Zangazur Corridor in the context of the prospects for a multiple expansion of freight traffic along the East-West vector.

Hopes are high that the opening of the Zangazur Corridor would have a significant impact on the expansion potential of the Middle Corridor, and would contribute to major changes in the transport map of the region. Among the forum participants were leaders and representatives of leading think tanks from dozens of nations.

Azerbaijan’s cultural capital Shusha has turned into the main venue for holding events of the UN and other influential organizations, and it is no coincidence that the international conference, entitled "South Caucasus: Development and Cooperation" occurred there.

This important platform was conducive to a favorable opportunity for foreign experts to consider the possibilities of developing ties, opening communications between the countries of the South Caucasus in the post-conflict period, and discussing the peace agenda being formed by Azerbaijan to normalize relations with Armenia as the basis for progress, security, and prosperity in the region. The conference brought together about 40 experts and representatives of think tanks from over 20 nations.

TEKNOFEST festival

The TEKNOFEST festival in Baku from 26 to 29 May with the organization and support of the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport of Azerbaijan - the largest aerospace and technology festival in Turkey proved to be crucial and holding it for the first time outside Turkey was another indicator of friendship, brotherhood and strategic alliance of the two states.

On June 15, Shusha played host to the first anniversary of the signing of the Shusha Declaration, and an international conference "Azerbaijani-Turkish strategic allied relations - a source of peace and stability for the Caucasus and the region" was conducted. The importance of cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan was discussed by officials of the two countries with the president stressing that Baku-Ankara relations are at the highest level.

The president expressed pride in the fact that today the two states are the closest countries in the world in terms of moral and political parameters. During the conference, it was noted that with the signing of the Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey on June 15, 2021, relations between friendly, fraternal countries that are strategic partners have reached a qualitatively new level. Speaking at the conference, representatives of the Turkish delegation stressed that cooperation between the two countries has changed the situation in the region. Joint projects of Ankara and Baku have contributed to the development of the region.

Interregional Forum

On November 17, the 11th Azerbaijan-Russian Interregional Forum in Baku was attended by Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Over the years of its existence, the Interregional Forum has turned into an authoritative platform for a mutually beneficial dialogue between representatives of various spheres of the two countries.

Mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries today covers almost all areas. During the event, cooperation in the economic, transport, and agro-industrial sectors, in the field of small and medium-sized businesses, humanitarian ties, mutual investment, and issues related to education were discussed, and documents on cooperation in various fields were signed. The forum gave a new impetus to the development of interregional cooperation between Baku and Moscow, identifying key vectors for the development of mutually beneficial partnerships.

Azerbaijan has long been pursuing an active policy of international cooperation. The country is increasingly becoming a venue for significant international events, which is an indicator of the growing prestige of Azerbaijan worldwide. The country's experience in hosting major international events makes it a very convenient venue for many large-scale events. Azerbaijan has not only positioned itself as a reliable country but actually proved that it deserves this trust.

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