Baku meeting of generals: the Caucasus` center of peace and reconciliation

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Baku, 21 February 2017 –

The Azerbaijani capital of Baku has hosted a landmark meeting between the chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff of the Russian and American armed forces. Experts say the agenda did not include mere local and technical issues as the generals discussed global geopolitical problems. And it`s no coincidence that the two superpowers decided to choose Baku as location for the meeting of their military leaders. They gave preference to Azerbaijan as the most rational option from among former Soviet republics. This means that the post-Soviet region is now playing an increasing role in the global geopolitical processes. In the Caucasian sub-region, preference is given to Azerbaijan as a reliable and civil country. We believe that this will have a strong impact on regional and global politics and the formation of security system.

Foreign policy: when the political line is correctly chosen...

The Baku meeting of the chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff of the Russian and American armed forces has been in the global spotlight. The world`s leading media believe that it is geopolitical factors that lie behind Baku`s selection as location of the first face-to-face meeting between Joseph Dunford and Valery Gerasimov. Ongoing global geopolitical processes are believed to have played a decisive role here. In addition, US-Russian relations have recently gained great topicality.

So in the light of these two factors the Baku meeting of the US and Russian generals is of major significance. First of all, it should be noted that the global geopolitical situation is becoming increasingly volatile, which is confirmed by almost all experts. The West and Russia are clashing in different regions. Some experts believe this can provoke a new cold war. On the other hand, the situation is worsened by tense US-China and US-Iran relations.

In this context, the Russian factor represents pivotal importance to global geopolitics. Russia is one of the two powers directly influencing what is happening in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (particularly Ukraine). So US-Russia relationship is of great importance to the entire world. Donald Trump`s election as US President gave new meaning to the issue. Given his calls for warmer relations with Russia, Mr Trump is believed by many to fundamentally change the essence of the American policy. Experts believe that it is US-Russia relationship that will decide the fate of the global geopolitics at the current stage. And Baku`s hosting a meeting of the US and Russian generals at such a sensitive moment is yet another indicative of Azerbaijan`s geopolitical role and importance.

But what the Russian and American military leaders discussed in Baku is much more significant. The two focused on global geopolitical and military problems, including Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, Europe and Northern Africa. Syria, Ukraine and Iran are definitely major points here. Moscow and Washington are exploring military cooperation prospects in order to tackle these challenges.

So at the Baku meeting of the chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff of the Russian and American armed forces, at stake was global security. This is not an ordinary occasion. This was possible thanks to the Azerbaijani leadership`s long-term resolute, independent and comprehensive foreign policy. This can be proved through convincing evidence.

When national leader Heydar Aliyev was determining Azerbaijan`s foreign policy line in the 1990s, he set peace, reconciliation and sustainable development as key priorities. In his historic speech at the United Nations in 1994, Heydar Aliyev pointed out the necessity of being committed to peace and cooperation. At that meeting, Heydar Aliyev drew the audience`s attention to political and economic situation in Azerbaijan, and put forward the country`s foreign policy principles.

Inheritance and initiative: far-sightedness of Azerbaijani President

A year later, on 22 October 1995, national leader Heydar Aliyev addressed the 50th anniversary General Assembly of the United Nations. Heydar Aliyev hailed the UN`s global importance. "On behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I declare that we condemn aggression in all its manifestations and in any part of the world. We want peace. We want peace all over the world, we want peace in the region, we want peace and good relations with all our neighbor countries.”

The most important is that the national leader`s principles lie at the heart of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy, and Baku has remained committed to them ever since. Heydar Aliyev visited all Western superpowers and built constructive and equal cooperation with them. Thanks to his efforts, Washington, London, Berlin, Rome, Brussels, Paris now consider Azerbaijan as a reliable partner. And this is what guaranteed Baku`s selection as location for the meeting of the generals of the two superpowers.

National leader Heydar Aliyev breathed new life into Azerbaijan`s relationship with Russia. Persuaded by Heydar Aliyev, Vladimir Putin realized that elevating Azerbaijan-Russia ties to a qualitatively new level would be beneficial for both nations. The Russian President has always admitted this. This has definitely played a decisive role in Russia`s preferring Azerbaijan to Armenia, which Moscow claims to be its closest ally (in reality, an outpost), when it comes to deciding where to discuss global problems.

National leader Heydar Aliyev managed to build a format of balanced cooperation with superpowers. Then President Ilham Aliyev added some creativity to this line and improved the cooperation to modern standards. He gave new meaning to Azerbaijan`s foreign policy priorities in the face of the challenges of the 21st century. One of the crucial factors that ensured this was President Ilham Aliyev`s impressive and substantial speeches at international organizations. There are also factors in practical activity. For example, Baku Process, which encourages global dialogue, peace, cooperation and reconciliation. Under this format, world-renowned politicians, scientists, diplomats and journalists regularly gather in Baku in search of ways of building dialogue among civilizations and cultures. That was the case with the two generals, who managed to build a dialogue in Baku.

As President of the region`s leader country, Ilham Aliyev has initiated a number of bilateral and trilateral cooperation formats. World-famous politicians recognize that the initiatives put forward by official Baku contribute considerably to global security and equal cooperation. One of such contributions was a historic meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran, which took place in Baku last August. This proved that Baku is capable of organizing constructive talks involving heads of superpowers.

So there are serious reasons why the chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff of the Russian and American armed forces decided to meet in Baku. Azerbaijan proved that it is ready for this. From this point of view, the Baku meeting was a message to official Yerevan and the OSCE Minsk Group that Azerbaijan is an independent country, whose foreign policy encourages peace and reconciliation, and that it seeks resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on these principles. But Armenia still remains the main obstacle to this. So this vassal`s patrons should think what is to their benefit: justice or injustice.

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