Azerbaijan president in Moscow to boost bilateral economic and defence ties

Azerbaijan president in Moscow to boost bilateral economic and defence ties

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will make an official visit to Moscow today to reaffirm relations. The visit comes as Russia

Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev casts his vote during the presidential election in Baku

Photo: Reuters/Vugar Amrullayev

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will make an official visit to Moscow today to reaffirm relations. The visit comes as Russia and Azerbaijan are improving ties politically and economically.

The Caucasus region, wedged between Turkey, Iran and Russia, has long been a battleground for the competing interests of larger powers. Recently, Moscow has dominated the arena, currently manning military bases within its ally Armenia—Azerbaijan’s long-time rival. Despite this, Russia and Azerbaijan have maintained strong economic relations, especially in arms trade; Moscow is Baku’s number one weapons supplier.

Its steady ties with both countries have made Russia the prime negotiator for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, efforts to resolve the border dispute continue to progress slowly. In a recent visit to the region, German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered to assume responsibility to settle the conflict, encouraging continued peace.

However, it is unlikely that Russia would allow a western country to step into the negotiations so easily. Indeed, Moscow has benefited from the dispute—both economically through arms sales to both parties and geopolitically in its ability to station troops in the region. Thus, it is in Russia’s interest to continue dominating the negotiations while only encouraging minimal progress.

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