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Baku’s Attempts to Isolate Armenia and the Ways to Counteract Them

Azerbaijan consistently continues its policy of isolation and blockade against Armenia, which has been the same for more than two decades.  This policy is quite actively supported by Turkey that has been keeping the border with Armenia closed since 1993. Such a policy has several directions.

An important component of the policy of isolation and blockade is the implementation of regional projects bypassing Armenia (Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, North-South corridor, etc.).Thus Azerbaijan minimizes the economic expediency of these projects, which are aimed at the use of the transit potential of the region. Another important direction is the formation of cooperation platforms giving them periodic nature (for example, Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, Azerbaijan-Iran-Turkey, Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia etc.)

The latest expression of this policy was the meeting of foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan in Baku, during which, according to the released statement, the issue of South-West transport corridor was discussed. This information, as expected, has been quite actively used by the Azerbaijani propaganda presenting it as “another strategic victory of Baku” and another expression of Armenia’s isolation. In essence, once more we face Baku’s information campaign, which among others aims at disseminating defeatist moods in Armenia.  

Although, Armenia’s non-participation in separate regional projects and formats is, of course, concerning, the fact that they are in some way of anti-Armenian nature (at least as planned by Azerbaijan and Turkey) means that they will demand Yerevan to pay to be engaged in them. Such a scenario, of course, is not in our interests.

At the same time let us note that Armenia has a range of opportunities to counteract to the Azerbaijani-Turkish initiatives and to use the regional transit opportunities, which have not been completely used yet. We mean the use of the potential of Armenia-Iran and Armenia-Georgia cooperation. Despite the good relations with the two countries, in both directions there is a need of initiatives that will ensure results. By the way, Yerevan’s policy and activated communication with the authorities of those states create good ground for the implementation of the larger projects. To be objective we should state that in case of Iran we have already recorded success stories of cooperation, free economic zone in Syunik, creation of Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Russia energy corridor etc. despite separate success stories there is a necessity to further deepen cooperation paying special attention to multi-sided projects.

In particular, we need to continue the discussion on the transition of Iran’s gas through Armenia, the works on realizing Black Sea - Persian Gulf Corridor, Armenian-Iranian railway projects etc.  

It is quite important to acknowledge the strategic importance of such multi-sided projects for Armenia. We should also acknowledge that our motivation for this project should not be of economic but political expediency. Moreover, we should not forget that alternative ways and directions are quite important, especially during the current unpredictable times. 

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