Backstage moments of “mortar launcher” scandal between Azerbaijan and Serbia - ANALYSIS

Backstage moments of “mortar launcher” scandal between Azerbaijan and Serbia - ANALYSIS
  • Clock-gray 12:21
  • calendar-gray 12 August 2020

No matter how much paradoxically it sounds, the ethic norms and partnership principles in the politics should also be approached with faithfulness.

Regrettably, ever and again we have been witnessing careless approach to our state’s national interests by the countries who call themselves as friends and partners of Azerbaijan. Just a few days after Tovuz incidents, the mortar launchers made in Serbia and used by the Armenian armed forces became a bright example of such irresponsibility and the unethical dirty policy. Because the politicians in Belgrade who named themselves as Azerbaijan’s allies and received support from the official Baku in a number of issues ranging between financial assistance and recognition of territorial integrity shouldn’t arm the occupant country taking into consideration at least their own national interests.

Several weeks after wide discussions conducted in mass media of the two countries, the summoning to Azerbaijan’s MFA of Serbia’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, the persons in political back rooms of Belgrade understood the serious ness of the mistake committed by them. On August 7, the President of the Serbian Republic Alexander Vucic phoning the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, said he experiences the feeling of regret for the use by the Armenian side of the weapons made in Serbia during the military clashes in Azerbaijan’s Tovuz region. He noted that in thye near future, a high-level Serbian delegation will be sent to Azerbaijan for investigation of this situation.

4 days after that phone conversation, on August 11, the visit to Baku of the Serbian deputy Prime Minister, the secretary of the National Security Council, the minister of Internal Affairs Nebojsa Stefanovic took place. The date of this visit coincides with the time after Azerbaijan’s appeal to Serbia regarding the weapons.

During the visit, the secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ramil Usubov and assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan - Head of Foreign Policy Issues Department of the Administration Hikmet Hajiyev received the guest.

At the meeting, the present condition of Azerbaijan-Serbia relations was discussed and the detailed exchange of ideas was conducted regarding perspectives of development of bilateral cooperation between our countries in various areas including the spheres of politics and security and the future joint steps in this regard. Specially noting the regular political dialogue and the friendly relations of heads of the states, the existence of the wide potential for further development of comprehensive cooperation between our countries was stressed.

It is not so difficult to assume that the purpose of the meeting and the most important issue discussed during the visit were not at all among the purposes and issues reflected in the statement prepared for press. And this is just the specifics of the diplomacy. The most important issues are discussed behind the closed doors. The main topic discussed at the meetings was the sale of weapon by Serbia to the occupant Armenia and the use of those weapons during the enemy’s attack on Tovuz.

At first glance, although Azerbaijan’s protest to any third country in connection with sale of weapon to Armenia seems strange to Serbia or many states situated far from the region (let’s remember: speech and confession of the Serbian president after publicizing of the issue of sale of weapon), in fact, there is nothing strange in this case. Because sale of weapon to an occupant party to a conflict who violates international law and cooperation with it in the military sphere along with being disrespectful to the international law, also means a stimulation of the occupant. The official Belgrade should especially have taken into consideration in this issue the present Azerbaijan-Serbia relations.

Because during recent years, relations between two countries have entered a new stage. Azerbaijan has always stood by Serbia on the issue of Kosovo. Our countries support each-other within the framework of the international organizations, as well as on the issue of territorial integrity. Declaration on Strategic Partnership signed in 2013 between Azerbaijan and Serbia, Joint Action Plan on Strategic Partnership, signed during visit of the Serbian President to Azerbaijan in May of 2018, as well as regular meetings of Intergovernmental Commission on commercial and economic cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Serbia play a significant role in the expansion of cooperation.
In recent years, relations between two countries in the fields of infrastructure, energy, industry, transportation-transit, IT, and others have improved. Certainly, we should pay attention to the energy field, which is one of the main economic fields of the globalizing world, while speaking on Azerbaijan’s investments in Serbia worth millions of dollars and development of relations in the different fields during recent times. In particular, we are talking about the TAP project of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will be launched in a few months. TAP, which is considered the main segment of the corridor, will deliver gas, produced from Shahdeniz–2 gas-condensate field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to the European consumers.

This project at the same time responds to the interests of the states such as Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro too. If we take into consideration the strategic partnership relations of Russia which ranks first place in gas exportation to Europe and approaching sensitively to geo economical projects, with Serbia, its position in transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe by Belgrade, as can be seen is not being accepted easily. According to some information, Serbia plans to buy Azerbaijani gas trough Bulgaria in 2023. If the diversification of Southern Gas Corridor happen  in the Balkans in the coming years, the countries of the region may become buyers of Azerbaijani gas. It should be noted that Memorandum of Understanding on construction of Ionian-Adriatic gas pipeline project in the future has already been signed. At the same time relations on tourism, construction, agriculture between two countries are increasing on an ascending line.

So, at a time when there is development listed above in  the political and economic fields along the ascending line between the two countries, the sale of arms by Serbia, whose territorial integrity was violated, to the occupying Armenia was a truly illogical step.

Apparently, some "barons" in the arms trade in Serbia by selling arms to Armenia, put their personal mercantile interests above national interests and had wanted to damage Azerbaijani-Serbian relations. However, concerns in senior political circles give hope that this “arms trade” will not be repeated again.

Zaur Mammadov

Senior Lecturer of the Academy of Public Administration under the President, Chairman of the Baku Club of Political Scientists

 

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