Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 179

Azerbaijan’s first deputy prime minister, Abbas Abbasov, foreign minister Hassan Hassanov, and defense minister Safar Abiev returned yesterday from an unusual visit to Russia which had lasted at least a week. In the course of the visit the delegation attended the first session of the Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani commission, created at Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s initiative last month to investigate Russian arms transfers to Azerbaijan and Armenia since 1992. Predictably, the talks on this subject led nowhere. However, the Azerbaijani delegation also conducted bilateral talks with the Russian side on issues of common interest.

Those issues included the Gabala early-warning radar station, Russia’s sole remaining military facility in Azerbaijan. According to Baku sources yesterday, the Azerbaijani delegation offered to lease the station to Russia for a 10 to 15 year period at a monthly rent of between $20 million and $30 million. The Russians agreed with the lease period but pleaded poverty with regard to the rental fee. (Turan, September 25)

During the Azerbaijani delegation’s stay in Moscow, Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov publicly offered to conclude a treaty of alliance with Azerbaijan on the model of the Russian-Armenian alliance treaty. Primakov’s decision to go public indicated that the Russian side was attempting, and probably failing, to engage the Azerbaijani delegation in specific discussions regarding such a treaty. Azerbaijan’s top presidential aide, Vafa Guluzade, rejected the offer from Baku (see Monitor, September 18 and 19), but the talks in Moscow continued for almost another week.

Tajikistan Roundup.