Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 174

Yesterday’s statement by Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov, warning that the recently signed Russian-Armenian military alliance treaty does not guarantee Armenian territorial gains at the expense of Azerbaijan (see Monitor, September 18), contained an additional proposal that was reported only afterward. That second portion of the statement — which Primakov had described as authorized by Boris Yeltsin — included an offer to sign a treaty with Azerbaijan "similar to" the August 29 treaty with Armenia. In publicizing the offer, Russian foreign ministry chief spokesman Gennady Tarasov specified that Moscow is prepared to introduce in a treaty with Azerbaijan "the same provisions as in the treaty with Armenia, if the Azerbaijani leadership agrees." (Russian agencies, September 18)

Within hours, Azerbaijani president Haidar Aliev’s senior foreign policy adviser, Vafa Guluzade, described the offer as "dubious" and "a clumsy attempt to make up" for signing the treaty with Armenia. Guluzade pointed out that the Russian-Armenian treaty codifies close military relations, the presence of Russian forces and bases in Armenia, joint protection of Armenia’s borders, and other elements that, according to Guluzade, would be unacceptable to Azerbaijan. Nor does Baku accept the premise of "common strategic interests" stipulated in the Russian-Armenian treaty, he said. According to Guluzade, "Russia has placed itself in a most awkward position" on two counts. First, as a would-be CIS leader, Moscow is nevertheless arming one CIS country against another member country. Second, as co-chairman of the OSCE’s Karabakh settlement forum, Russia has signed an alliance with one party against another party to a conflict it is supposed to mediate.

At the same time, Guluzade described as "positive" Primakov’s recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and his disavowal of the Karabakh defense minister’s recent assertion that the dispute will ultimately be settled by force. (Turan, Russian agencies, September 18)

Tajikistan Roundup.