On a state visit to Britain from July 20 to July 23, Azerbaijani President Haidar Aliev urged Western countries to expand their economic and political presence in the countries of the South Caucasus. Aliev expressed concern over the presence of Russian military bases in the region and the arms transfers to Armenia in excess of CFE treaty limits. He described as “dangerous” and “destabilizing” the recently announced Russian intention to add to that hardware and, further, to site S-300 missiles (the latter not being covered by the CFE treaty).
At the public level, the British government did not appear to pressure Aliev to accommodate the opposition’s demands regarding the organization of the upcoming presidential election. That issue figures more prominently and publicly in the U.S. dialogue with Azerbaijan. Aliev has in any case made substantial concessions to the opposition recently. (See the Monitor, July 14) Three oil contracts totaling a multibillion sum were the centerpiece of Aliev’s visit. (Western agencies, July 21-23. On the oil contracts see the Monitor, July 23)
TALBOTT AND RALSTON IN TBILISI.