by David Stepanyan
Azerbaijan is in too favorable a situation to prove anything to anyone. Despite the views that oil is running out and there is no democracy in Azerbaijan, the situation is so far in favor of Aliyev and he can afford himself to choose formats of cooperation, says Erika Lerner, a Czech member of the Association of the European Center of Meetings between East and West, in response to ArmInfo's question in an online interview.
"AA and DCFTA imply certain obligations, while Baku does not want to have any obligatory relations with the EU. Much less it wants the EU to control its economy. As long as the EU depends on Azerbaijan's export, Baku will not allow anyone to control its oil. Actually, declaring that the Association with the EU does not meet Azerbaijan's interests, the president of that country demonstrates the special status of its country comparing to the other countries in the region and even in the CIS," the expert said.
According to her, Aliyev is well aware that the EU membership will take decades. At the same time, he hints that his country will not become an associated member marking time at the doorstep of the EU. If the EU offers more favorable terms of cooperation, Baku will agree. But it does not need a status to keep these relations. Europe's current interest in the energy resources of Azerbaijan, as Lerner thinks, allows Aliyev to wage such policy. The major goal here is to diversify the suppliers of energy resources to the EU market.
"Obviously, Azerbaijan's share in that market is not big, and with Europe lifting some sanctions against Iran that share will become even smaller. Nevertheless, Baku has enough resources for a special path to the West so far," she said.
Joint online press conference of experts from various countries for Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian mass media on the relevant problems are organized within the project "Expansion of knowledge of Armenians and Azerbaijanis about each other and confidence building through first-hand information". The project of the "Region" Research Center (Armenia) and Peace and Democracy Institute (Azerbaijan) is supported by the British Embassies in Armenia and Azerbaijan.