This category contains 72 posts

Difficult Geopolitics of the Caspian Complicate Potential Energy Projects

113496_7406ef53942744708e0eThe foreign ministers of the five littoral Caspian states—Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran—met in Moscow, on December 5, 2017, to try to finalize an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. After the talks, the Azerbaijani and Russian representatives, Elmar Mammadyarov and Sergei Lavrov, respectively, praised the narrowing of the five country’s positions (Azernews.az, December 5, 2017). Continue reading


Azerbaijan Seeks to Speed Up Conclusion of New Agreement with the EU

EU-Azerbaijan_good_1493137615Before the Eastern Partnership’s (EaP) Brussels Summit in November 2017, many observers expected the finalization of the new EU-Azerbaijan agreement. However, neither this agreement nor the aviation agreement were signed, as many technical challenges remain to be addressed. Azerbaijan signed only a visa-free agreement with the BeNeLux countries for service passports holders and the indicative maps of the Trans-European transport network (TEN-T). Continue reading

Outcomes of the Eastern Partnership Brussels Summit for Azerbaijan

IA EaP SummitBefore the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Brussels Summit (November 2017), there were many polemics associated with competing language of the summit’s declaration on unresolved conflicts and the new EU-Azerbaijan agreement. The European Parliament’s (EP) previous critical resolutions towards Azerbaijan, which is considered by Baku a political provocation carried by some anti-Azerbaijani circles, had earlier postponed the negotiations of the new agreement. Continue reading


Azerbaijan, Belarus Pursue Military Cooperation

Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov visited Belarus, on October 9–10, and toured local defense-industry enterprises to review modern military equipment that could help boost the capabilities of the Azerbaijani army (Mod.gov.az, October 810). The Ministry of Defense released photos of Hasanov standing in front of the new Polonez multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS), the T38-Stiletto short-range air-defense system, radars and a communications jamming (electronic warfare) station—a clear indication of what Azerbaijan is interested in purchasing from Belarus. Continue reading


Interaction with Turkish Air Forces Boosts Azerbaijan’s Air-Combat Capability

df1a67964f48dd102b7cc05bc8204badThe Azerbaijani and Turkish Air Forces conducted joint flight-tactical exercises in Azerbaijan, on September 18–30, with the involvement of combat/transport aircraft and helicopters. Such systematic joint exercises help foster greater interoperability and exchange of experience between the two air forces. Additionally, these drills improve the practical skills of pilots for joint coordination and execution of conventional combat operations (Mod.gov.az, September 1429). Continue reading


Gas Diversification Policy of Georgia: Role of External Actors — Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran

Cover page comment samThe ultimate purpose of this research paper is to examine Georgia’s gas diversification policy options from the standpoint of economic attractiveness, political likelihood, transportation (infrastructure) connectivity and energy security. The paper encompasses five chapters on Georgia’s energy sector including discussion of energy balance, energy demand, gas suppliers, sources, etc.; the role of Azerbaijan in Georgia’s energy market and existing pipelines and contracts; Russia’s interest in Georgia’s gas sector, including recent talks and renewal of the transit agreement, as well as public reactions thereto; and the possibility of Iranian gas exports to Georgia, including the role that Armenia is enthusiastic to play in this regard. You can freely access the material in pdf via Gas Diversification Policy of Georgia: Role of External Actors — Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran 


Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Visits Israel, as Bilateral Ties Grow Stronger

15497cb9adba5e0ee5cfd8d46bdfc340Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov paid a visit to Israel, on September 11, to discuss cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres with the host country’s leading defense industry enterprises. While there, he also toured the Command and Control Center (CCC) of the Israeli Armed Forces (Mod.gov.az, September 111314). Continue reading


The Potential Impact of New US Sanctions Law on Pipeline Projects Connecting Europe and Eurasia

While expressing some “concerns,” United States President Donald Trump signed the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” on August 2 (Whitehouse.gov, August 2)—legislation that was overwhelmingly approved by the US House of Representatives late last month. Continue reading


Revitalizing the Military Dimension of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Tripartite Partnership

On May 23, the defense ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey (AGT) held a trilateral meeting in Batumi, followed in June by the joint trilateral field training Caucasian Eagle 2017 of the three countries’ Special Operations Subdivisions in Georgia’s Vaziani base. Continue reading


Strategic Partnership Agreement: A New Chapter in EU-Azerbaijan Relations

Ilham-Aliyev-and-Federica-Mogherini-Brussels-February-6-EDM-June-22-2017-640x360On June 13–14, the European Union and Azerbaijan held another round of talks on the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). Those ongoing discussions were first inaugurated on February 6, with the official visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Brussels. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated that both sides hope to finalize the draft agreement by the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit Continue reading


Will Violence Increase Between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

1040866976The International Crisis Group recently published a comprehensive report titled “Nagorno-Karabakh’s Gathering War Clouds”. One of the key messages of the report was the looming threats of large scale war in the South Caucasus because of this conflict. The report referred also to the growing militarization in South Caucasus Continue reading


The Southern Gas Corridor: Heading into the Home Stretch?

Trans-Adriatic-Pipeline-Selected-for-Shah-Deniz-Gas-TransportSecurity of gas supply is a priority for the European Union (EU) because it is critical to ensure that (1) supplies are not disrupted; (2) market can be competitive and (3) the EU cannot be blackmailed in foreign and security policy questions. Continue reading


Propaganda Against Trans-Adriatic Pipeline Continues Under ‘Environmental Concerns’

TAP-protests.jpgOn April 6, Italy’s Lazio Regional Administrative Court (LRAC) suspended the environmental impact permit for the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which would have allowed for the relocation of olive trees that obstruct the planned path of the pipeline in the Puglia region town of Melendugno (Italianinsider.it, April 7). Continue reading


Armenia’s Doubts on Russia Ties Prompt Pro-EU Maneuvering

Serzh-Sargsyan-785x487.jpgOn February 28, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan speaking at Carnegie Europe, a Brussels-based think-tank dubbed Armenian people ‘European‘ due their spiritual-cultural heritage and way of life, and stressed the importance of ‘shared values’ in the new EU-Armenia agreement. The speech came a day after the European Union and Armenia agreed on the “Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement” (CEPA) Continue reading


Russian Gas in the Southern Gas Corridor Could Undermine the EU’s Diversification Plans

TASS_1039167_468Gazprom has officially declared its willingness to use the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as a route to deliver gas to Europe. TAP is an integral part of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) which is one of the priority energy projects for the EU to ensure the continent’s security of supply from a non-Russian source. Continue reading


Brussels Rolls out the Red Carpet for Azerbaijan

1543192740513In February, the European Union rolled out the red carpet for the official visit of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev for the inauguration of the new EU-Azerbaijan “Strategic Partnership Agreement.” During the visit, President Aliyev called the new agreement a “new chapter” in Azerbaijan-EU relations Continue reading


Suspension of Azerbaijan’s EITI Membership: Repercussions for the Southern Gas Corridor

EITIThe International Board of Directors (BoD) of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) suspended Azerbaijan’s membership in the coalition. The decision came during the BOD’s 36th meeting (on March 8­–9), in Colombia. The EITI promotes the open and accountable management of oil, natural gas and mineral resources with the involvement of governments, companies and civil society organizations Continue reading


Southern Gas Corridor Seeks Financial Backing Amidst Volatile Oil Prices

During the third ministerial meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) Advisory Council, held in Baku, on February 23, the European Commission’s vice president for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, encouraged international financial institutions to bankroll the SGC project (Trend, February 23). Continue reading


Injecting Russian Gas Into TAP: Downgrading Importance of Southern Gas Corridor

1l-Tap route.jpgFor the first time ever, Gazprom officially expressed interest in using the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to deliver Russian gas to Europe (Trend, January 24). During the European Gas Conference in Vienna, on January 24, Gazprom deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said that Russia’s upstream capacity is sufficient Continue reading


TAP’s Fate after the Italian Referendum

Italian PM Renzi leads a news conference to mark 1000 days in the government, in RomeOn December 4, a referendum in Italy rejected the sweeping constitutional reforms proposed by the government, ultimately resulting in the resignation of Matteo Renzi from the prime minister’s post. One of the main proposed constitutional changes was the division of competences between the state and the regions on defining which governing body will retain the legislative power on “land-use planning” and “transport and distribution of energy.” Continue reading


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