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Azerbaijan’s Cooperation With the EU: A Pragmatic Focus on the Benefits


european-union-and-azerbaijan-482718416_4467x2234During the June 22 Eastern Partnership (EaP) meeting in Minsk, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov outlined his country’s key areas of cooperation with the European Union and said the two sides are close to signing a document listing their “Partnership Priorities” (Mfa.gov.az, June 22). EU-Azerbaijani relations suffered in the past because of the European Parliament’s (EP) critical resolutions on Azerbaijan (see EDM, June 22, 2017). Continue reading

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Azerbaijan’s Acquisitions of New Missile Systems From Belarus and Israel: The Domestic and Regional Context


020On June 11, Azerbaijan unveiled its newly-acquired Polonez multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS, with a range of 300 kilometers) and LORA ballistic missile complexes (400 km), purchased from Belarus and Israel, respectively. Both weapons systems are designed to target major military bases and operational facilities located deep in enemy territory Continue reading

Aggravated Situation Around Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Exclave


051600010227An Azerbaijani soldier stationed in the country’s large western exclave of Nakhchivan was killed, on May 20, during a combat mission while suppressing enemy provocations coming across the border from Armenia. The incident came only two days after a visit by Armenia’s defense and foreign ministers to military bases located near the Azerbaijani-Armenian border around Nakhchivan Continue reading

Azerbaijani leadership resolutely upholds the Southern Gas Corridor


Aliyex-azer-gas-1920x1040On February 6 and March 15, the European Investment Bank (EIB) allocated the biggest package of loan of € 1.5 billion (bn) and € 932 million (mm) respectively to complete the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP). Both are main segments of the Southern Gas Corridor. Continue reading

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, 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

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

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

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

Perspective for Turkish Stream Project: Possible Scenarios and Challenges



Following the cancellation of South Stream, Russia announced its plans to reroute the pipeline to Turkey, instead of Bulgaria. The new pipeline was dubbed “Turkish Stream”, with same capacity of South Stream, but less vulnerable to EU competition law. “Turkish Stream” has also experienced delays due to the crisis in Russia-Turkey relations. However, following the recent normalization of bilateral relations, the project regained its momentum. 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

Azerbaijan’s SOCAR Interested in Buying a Stake in Georgia’s Oil & Gas Corporation


2749399736_3712f58661The finance minister of Georgia, Dimitri Kumsishvili, recently announced that the Georgian government is considering selling a 25 percent stake in the state-owned Georgian Oil & Gas Corporation (GOGC) on the international stock exchange in 2017 (Cbw.ge, November 30). Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR) disclosed its interest in obtaining a share in Georgia’s GOGC, if a tender is officially announced (Trend, November 28). Continue reading

Armenia seeks to boost its role in the Iran-Georgia gas talks


iran-armenia-flagsThe Iran-Armenia-Georgia gas talks have recently gained momentum. Iranian and Georgian companies have signed gas purchase contracts, to supply natural gas to Georgia through Armenia. While the perspective of enhanced Iran-Armenia-Georgia gas cooperation is limited from political and technical viewpoints, Armenia is actively seeking to carve out a new role for itself in order to mitigate the repercussions of its long-running isolation Continue reading

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