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Moscow playing key role in Caucasus security – Ex-Soviet state leader

Azerbaijan is looking forward to further strengthening ties with Russia, President Ilham Aliyev has said

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev remarked that Russia is playing a “pivotal” role in ensuring security in the Caucasus region during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday. The two leaders discussed various bilateral issues, ranging from economic cooperation to regional security.

Aliyev’s visit comes as Russia marks the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM), a major Soviet-era railway that stretches across Eastern Siberia into the Far East. Aliyev’s late father and former president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, was one of the key figures who oversaw construction of the line. Following the talks, Putin and Aliyev participated in a meeting with former builders and workers at the BAM. 

The two presidents expressed a readiness to further bolster ties between the two nations and strengthen both economic and security cooperation. Aliyev said Baku was “happy with the progress in [the] resolution” of the outstanding security issues in the region, although he did not name them. 

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FILE PHOTO. Russian peacekeepers in Azerbaijan.
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“Russia plays a pivotal role in ensuring regional security in the Caucasus and beyond. A lot depends on the actions and cooperation between our countries. We are committed to bolstering trust, cooperation, mutual understanding, and resolving issues in a spirit of collaboration and shared interests,” Aliyev stated.

While the president did not elaborate on the matter, his visit also coincided with a major development in the Southern Caucasus region. Last week, Moscow announced the withdrawal of its peacekeeping force from the Azerbaijani region of Karabakh.

The region, previously populated mostly by ethnic Armenians, remained outside of Baku’s control for decades after breaking away from the country shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and declaring the now defunct Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The breakaway region, which had been tacitly backed by neighboring Armenia, had been a constant source of tensions between Yerevan and Baku and saw repeated armed flare-ups over the years. The latest major escalation occurred in late 2020 and resulted in a major defeat for the unrecognized republic and subsequent deployment of Russian peacekeepers to the region with a mandate to monitor the situation and document violations of the ceasefire.

April 23, 2024 at 02:31AM

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