Georgia fails to please Azerbaijan, Russia and West

Georgia fails to please Azerbaijan, Russia and West

Trying to please his Muslim neighbours, Saakashvili did his best to put the country in total dependence on Baku’s energy supply.

Mikheil Saakashvili’s defeat at the parliamentary elections in Georgia can entail certain regional changes, namely, with regard to the relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan, and further maybe between Georgia and Turkey.

PanARMENIAN.Net - According to Azerbaijani media, the new Georgian minister of economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili did not exclude that the agreements signed with the Russian Inter RAO UES and Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR) may be reviewed. He believes it’s not right for an investor to invest funds in a country and seek profit in five years. “Investors should not violate the rights of the consumers through regulatory commissions,” he says. Prior to this, the new prime minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili voiced the intention to cut down the tariffs for the imported gas.All these unexpected statements damage the interests of SOCAR which recently bought Itera-Georgia (the branch of the ITERA International Energy LLC). This purchase gave SOCAR the right to directly sell gas all over Georgia’s territory, except for capital Tbilisi. On November 3, SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev commented on Kvirikashvili’s statement in an interview with an Azerbaijani TV channels saying he hoped the euphoria of Georgia’s new government will pass, and the words of their politicians will match the reality. Such statements are in fact part of the electoral process that just ended in Georgia, he noted.

Trying to please his Muslim neighbours, Saakashvili did his best to put the country in total dependence on Baku’s energy supply. This resulted in Armenia’s isolation from the pipelines and regional integration. One may only guess what he had on his mind when following the tastes of Aliyev and Erdogan. However, a person, seemingly Christian, should not have danced to Muslims’ tune.

Well, the developments of the past 10 years will weigh on Saakashvili’s conscience, provided he has one. All in all, Armenia has nothing to do with Georgian gas supply; the potential launch of the Abkhaz railway branch line is far more serious. Baku is already voicing its hysterical threats.

“If railway communication with Armenia is restored (through Abkhazia), Azerbaijan may support separatist regimes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Musa Gasymly, member of Azerbaijani Milli Mejlis declared.

Ivanishvili’s statement on potential resumption of railway communication with Armenia through Russia-led Abkhazia “raises concerns” in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani media report.

Experts think this policy of Georgia’s new PM may harm its relations with Azerbaijan.

Gasymly believes Ivanishvili’s policy cannot be perceived positively. “Georgia must consider the allied ties with Azerbaijan. Georgia’s economic and social situation directly depends on Azerbaijan. If pro-Armenian policy is further pursued, Azerbaijan will have to make relevant moves,” he said. The MP thinks if Azerbaijan has to take reciprocal steps, this will yield no positive results for Georgia.

Gasymly urges Ivanishvili to “stop his unclear statements and realize that the damage to strategic ties between Georgia and Azerbaijan will negatively affect Georgia, in the first place.” Meanwhile, the notorious Azerbaijani political scientist, the governmental mouthpiece for “Aliyev’s tales” Mubariz Ahmedoglu believes that Georgia, despite its seemingly neutral stance, tends to support Armenia in the dispute over Nagorno Karabakh. He says Azerbaijan “should review its contracts and agreements with Georgia”. According to Ahmedoglu, Azerbaijan is making many concessions to Georgia by selling the gas very cheaply, but sees “no reciprocal moves” on Georgia’s part.

It will take quite a while for Georgia to settle the problems inherited from Saakashvili, if the country really seeks to change its image and turn from “the beacon of democracy” into a normal state. This is a long and hard path; reconsideration of relations with one's neighbours does not always come easy, and if threats of Azerbaijan and Turkey suddenly become a reality, Tbilisi will have to just rely on Moscow, however hard the Georgian leaders try to avoid it. The West has already washed its hands off Georgia, so no aid is to be expected here. The re-elected U.S. president Barack Obama does not at all want to bother about Georgia; he has his own problems to tackle. Maybe, if Romney were elected...however, the history recognizes no “ifs”. So, Ivanishvili has to decide his further moves, though this is quite difficult.

Karine Ter-Sahakian
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