BAKU—A senior Azeri official told Bloomberg Businessweek that Azerbaijan would rethink what he called its “pro-Western” stance and align itself with “a new bloc” if the West does not amp up its support, especially vis-à-vis the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Azerbaijan wants Europe and the US to pressure Armenia into relinquishing the liberated territories of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
In what was clearly a move to blackmail the West, Novruz Mammadov, head of the presidential office’s foreign-relations department told Bloomberg Businessweek that Azerbaijan had been invited to join another political alliance, without elaborating.
“We aren’t paying attention to those proposals for now. But if it continues like this, we may consider it in five to 10 years. We’re expecting help from the West on the Karabakh issue,” Mammedov told Bloomberg in an interview in Baku.
Mammadov also rebuked Israel for allegedly breaking an agreement to keep a recent $1.6 billion arms deal with Azerbaijan a secret. Israeli defense officials announced the deal earlier this spring, with Azeri officials confirming the reports. The Azeri officials also noted that the weapons would not be used against Iran, as speculated by Western sources, but rather to bolster its abilities against Armenians.
Last month Foreign Policy magazine and other Western media outlets reported that Azerbaijan had turned into an Israeli spy zone and that Baku was allowing Israel to use its airports for possible airstrikes against Iran. Azerbaijan has vehemently rejected that assertion.
“We’re the only secular Muslim nation in the world that’s tied its destiny with the West,” Mammadov told Bloomberg. He estimated that about 35 percent of all NATO supplies to Afghanistan transit Azerbaijan. “But we haven’t seen a positive attitude in return.”
“Iran’s telling us: Why are you selling your oil to the West? You should sever your relations with the U.S. and Israel because they’re our enemies,” Mammadov told Bloomberg.