Education Minister is Appointed Azerbaijan’s Top Diplomat
The writing has been on the wall for a while now. President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan on Thursday fired his long-time foreign minister Elmar Mammadyarov, who has been in that position since 2004.
Aliyev immediately appointed Ceyhun Bayramov, Azerbaijan’s education minister to helm the foreign ministry.
Tensions between the president and the foreign ministry have been escalating for weeks, with reports circulating for weeks about Aliyev losing confidence in his long-time ally and top diplomat. The Turan news agency reporting last week that Azerbaijan’s National Security Service raided the foreign ministry and arrested top officials on charges of embezzlement as part of a larger “corruption” investigation.
Tensions came to a head on Wednesday when after Azerbaijani forces suffered grave losses as they brazenly attempted to breach the border with Armenia beginning Sunday,
Aliyev trashed his Mammadyarov during a cabinet meeting.
On Thursday, Turan questioned the new foreign minister’s credentials, saying Bayramov does not have experience in foreign policy or diplomacy.
In a video meeting with the newly-appointed Bayrmaov blamed a number of diplomats in state betrayal, saying that this was the result of incorrect policies at the foreign ministry. He said that Azerbaijan actively establishes friendly and partnering relations with all countries, but it does not mean that the interests of the state and people should be set aside.
”Some of our diplomats in other countries have become the Ambassadors of those countries where they work. This is the result of wrong cadre policy. Some diplomats have betrayed the state, they have betrayed it and are not hiding it. They are under the control of the special services of those countries,” Aliyev said.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairman, in a new announcement welcomed intentions by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers’ intention to meet in the near future to discuss the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
“The Co-Chairs welcomed the confirmation of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan to hold substantive negotiations on crucial aspects of a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement as soon as possible and emphasized the importance of returning OSCE monitors to the region as soon as circumstances allow,” said a statement issued by the top mediators on Thursday.