For the first time, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev took part as a guest in a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on May 25 this year in Moscow. Participating in the same briefing, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said that Moscow welcomes and highly appreciates Azerbaijan's interest in the activities of the Eurasian Economic Union.
According to the Russian diplomat, an increase in the level of cooperation between Baku and the EAEU would bring tangible economic benefits to all parties. And it would also have a positive impact on strengthening interstate ties and integration processes, which are, first of all, mutually beneficial and based on a mutually respectful approach.
But does Azerbaijan's participation in the briefing mean that it will take part in the alliance in the future? Another issue is how the West, which does not have a warm attitude towards Russia and imposes sanctions against it, will react to this?
“Of course, Azerbaijan's participation in the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council testifies to certain balancing tendencies in its foreign policy. However, this does not mean that it wants to take part in any military alliance.”
An Azerbaijani political analyst, Turab Rzayev said this to Azernews, while discussing Azerbaijan's participation at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. Referring to geopolitical rifts and the approaching polarization currently taking place in the world, he said that examples of this are the Western bloc (Canada, USA, Great Britain, etc.), the Eastern bloc (Russia, China, Iran, etc.), India, Turkiye, Azerbaijan, which are trying to pursue a balanced policy between east and west.
“Therefore, Azerbaijan periodically discusses economic and political issues and projects with the West, even the project of transferring the Trans-Caspian gas belt to Turkmenistan. At the same time, also participates in Eurasian Economic Union meetings. In this matter, it is important what mutual benefits Azerbaijan can receive,” expert said.
According to him, the oil and gas sector, which plays a paramount role in the Azerbaijani economy, may suddenly become the object of sanctions, and pressure mechanisms may be activated. “However, Azerbaijan can remain there with an observer status or participate in any economic activity in accordance with its interests. I think that additional steps will be taken in this direction,” Rzayev said.
Speaking about the positive aspects of special concessions between the Eurasian Union and Azerbaijan on certain issues, the expert noted that last year the West imposed sanctions against Russia. “The sale of agricultural, fruit and vegetable products produced in Azerbaijan and in the countries of the Middle East (Turkiye, Iran) to the Russian market through Azerbaijan can also have a positive impact on tourism.”
However, the expert stressed that all these issues need to be approached very carefully.
"That is, Azerbaijan should approach the sanctions imposed by the West with caution and not take contradictory steps. Otherwise, Azerbaijan may also suffer the fate of countries that have recently been under pressure from the West. For example, Serbia and Georgia were warned. Some (more than 20) Armenian companies fell under sanctions," the expert noted.