Baku Will Align Policy to Region’s ‘New Realities,’ Says Aliyev

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BAKU (Today’s Zaman)–Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said Azerbaijan will adapt its policy to the new realities of the region that will be established as a result of the ongoing normalization efforts between Turkey and Armenia, reported the Turkish Today’s Zaman Newspaper.

Aliyev met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Tuesday in Brussels, after which the two held a joint press conference. Aliyev also gave a speech in a conference titled “Azerbaijan: An increasingly important partner for the European Union,” organized by the European Policy Centre (EPC), a Brussels-based think tank.

Asked about his country’s position regarding the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, he indicated that it was up to Turkey and Armenia to decide on their bilateral relations but that Azerbaijan will adapt its policy according to the changing realities of the region, with particular reference to the possible border opening.

Aliyev said Azerbaijan is not in a position to prevent bilateral relations between the two but that they do have the right to align their steps to a potential future situation in the region.

Aliyev also pointed out his expectations for a clear answer if the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is linked to the agreement between Armenia and Turkey.

“We are hearing contradictory statements about whether the resolution of the regional crisis is a precondition in the ongoing process between Armenia and Turkey. It is indeed a simple question and requires a simple answer,” said Aliyev. Armenia and Turkey earlier announced that they had agreed on a road map to normalize their relations.

Barroso stated that he understands how sensitive the issue is for Azerbaijan. “But you should also understand that the European Union will be happy with any reduction in tension,” he noted, adding that this does not mean that Azerbaijan doesn’t want the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis to be resolved. “We also urge Azerbaijan and Armenia to look for a solution and hope their efforts deliver one.”

%u218In his speech at the EPC, Aliyev said the price of natural gas from the Caspian Sea that Turkey buys from Azerbaijan, which is transported through the Shahdeniz pipeline, needs to be recalculated according to the market price and the provisions of the agreement between the two.

Aliyev reiterated earlier threats that Azerbaijan would increase natural gas prices for Turkey because of the talks the country is holding with Armenia.

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