Monday, November 29

Dirty secrets behind closed doors revealed

Ask what everyone is reading worldwide today and the answer would be no doubt the WikiLeaks. Released on Saturday, November 27th and continuing to publish, WikiLeaks is putting some interesting leaks on US Embassies cable correspondence with Washington D.C. 

Open any leading newspaper, and the headline of the paper would be on WikiLeaks. Of course, there is no doubt there is some interesting stuff on Azerbaijan too- its relations with neighbors, arrest of young activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada, Nagorno Karabakh, its sudden decision to sell gas to Russia and much more. Below I have added some of the sections from this correspondence. Perhaps someone else will find them interesting too.
On Iran, President Aliyev said he supported economic isolation and believed it could be effective if enforced by a broad coalition [...] On energy cooperation, President Aliyev said that if the Turks demonstrate "constructive behavior" this year that a gas transit deal can happen [...] Aliyev spelled out the reasons Azerbaijan decided to sell gas to Russia last year, noting that "Moscow had asked" and offered a good price for gas that was surplus anyway. But the real reason, Aliyev confided, was that the sale illustrated to "our Turkish friends" that will not be allowed to create a gas distribution hub. "Aliyev made clear his distaste for the Erdogan government in Turkey, underscoring the "naivete" of their foreign policy and the failure of their initiatives, including the loss of support for Turkey among traditional international friends because of Ankara's hostility to Israel.
[...] on the jailed youth activists, U/S Burns said that one of the ways Azerbaijan could show leadership as a tolerant and secular country was in advancing democracy and human rights. He specifically asked that, following the appeal process of the two youth activists, the President find a way on humanitarian grounds to release the two men. Aliyev made no firm commitment but responded, "I think (a pardon or amnesty) can be done. I had no intention to hurt anyone."
[...] In response to U/S Burns' question about the Russian role in the NK talks Aliyev responded that he was convinced that Medvedev's efforts have been sincere [...] He said that at Sochi, Medvedev tried to persuade Sargsian to achieve a breakthrough. He added, however, that it was strange that with so much pressure from Moscow and Lavrov's visit to Yerevan, the Armenians not only resisted progress, but actually backtracked on previously- agreed items. 
The Amnesty International USAWeb Log published a short comment on the part of this discussion that touched youth activists. 

Another WikiLeak published on and titled "US embassy cables: US steps up pressure on Turkey over Iran" is all about Turkey and two of its neighbors- Iran and Azerbaijan. Below is an interesting passage from that leak:
[...] Sinirlioglu appealed for "simultaneity" between Armenian Protocols ratification and the Minsk Process. He emphasized "a strong reaction" against the protocols among ruling party MPs had to be overcome before the government would hazard a ratification effort. He warned Congressional passage of an Armenian genocide resolution would "complicate" his government's domestic political calculations regarding ratification. He said if something acceptable to Azerbaijani President Aliyev can found, then "we can move" the protocols forward. Sinirlioglu suggested Azerbaijan and Armenia's announcement of an agreed framework for Minsk Group progress would provide the GoT with the necessary political cover. Burns inquired about the prospect for progress on a natural gas deal between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Sinirlioglu implied Aliyev is HOLDING AN AGREEMENT HOSTAGE TO TURKEY'S HANDLING OF THE PROTOCOLS: "He doesn't TRUST us" [...]
To read more on WikiLeaks and the Caucasus you can visit this address, an outstanding compilation of many interesting leaks on Turkey as well by Liana Aghajanian.  

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