Hakob Badalyan, Political Commentator
Comments - Friday, 30 May 2014, 11:52

The president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev referred to the
letter of the Azerbaijani president Aliyev on Armenia's membership
during the summit of the Eurasian Union.

In his letter Aliyev wrote that Armenia has joined the World Trade
Organization with a special commentary that the WTO rules cover
Armenia within the borders recognized by the United Nations. Aliyev
wrote that Armenia should join the Eurasian Union within the borders
that have been recognized by the UN.

Aliyev's letter sheds light on the issue of Artsakh which is referred
to as a hindrance to Armenia's membership to the Eurasian Union.

Here is an interesting situation. In fact, if the border between
Armenia and Artsakh is a problem, Armenia cannot join the Eurasian
Union unless the issue of Artsakh has not been resolved and the
resolution has not been recognized by Azerbaijan. It means that
Armenia will not be able to join the Eurasian Union either by June
15 or after it. Otherwise, it follows that the issue of Artsakh will
have been resolved by June 15.

Is it possible? Hardly so. Practically, the prospects for the so-called
settlement of the issue of Artsakh are uncertain, which became clear
from the famous speech by the American co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group
and afterwards the regional visit of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

Nazarbayev's reference to Aliyev's letter is evidence to something
else. Apparently, Azerbaijan does not have any substantial claim to
the BCP on the border of Artsakh and Armenia and nobody seems to have
such an argument. Apparently, Azerbaijan's objective is to set down
legally the so-called internationally recognized borders of Armenia
in the process of Armenia's membership to the Eurasian Union. In
other words, Azerbaijan wants to have the circumstance of borders of
Armenia fixed, which may later allow for different political maneuvers.

Baku may have worries that in case the borders of Armenia are not
fixed now, Moscow may use the problem later to blackmail Azerbaijan.

And Kazakhstan obviously does not want to give Moscow such a chance
because later Astana will also appear in an awkward situation before

After all, the borders of Armenia have been set down in the WTO but
there is no BCP between Armenia and Artsakh. It is not a secret that
some products produced in Artsakh are marketed in WTO members.

In fact, the BCP is a problem for Azerbaijan because in the current
stage of the problem, with the current status quo and correlation
of forces the international discussion of the BCP would hardly be
reasonable for Baku. Whoever stands on the other side of the BCP or
the border, the government of Artsakh will have to become a party in
negotiations, which is an undesirable prospect for Azerbaijan.

>From this point of view, Baku's objective is not the BCP or the
membership of Armenia but records on Armenian borders in Eurasian
documents to make sure no member of the Eurasian Union tries to use
the issue of borders against Baku. Aliyev knows that sooner or later
Moscow will attempt to involve Azerbaijan in the Eurasian Union. In
that case, blackmail will be one of the preferable instruments in
Moscow's toolkit. And borders are the most convenient subjects of
blackmail. Baku is apparently trying to eliminate at least this risk
of blackmail.

After all, Aliyev has participated in Russian projects of blackmail
using the Artsakh issue against Armenia and he knows very well that
Russia will start blackmailing Azerbaijan as soon as it settles the
issue of Armenia through blackmail.

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