Razi Nurullayev, chairperson of PFPA was interviewed by teleqraf.com
“The United States is currently doing everything in their power to crush Iran. The Trump administration is aiming to overthrow the existing power in Iran and achieve a revolution in this country. The United States can expect cooperation from Azerbaijan in this direction. Of course, Azerbaijan will never do this. ”
So says the chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), Mr. Razi Nurullayev.
Question- What are your expectations from the early parliamentary elections in Armenia? How can the victory of the current head of government Nikol Pashinyan influence the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and on the situation of Armenia itself?
Answer– As expected, Nikol Pashinyan won the elections in Armenia. He himself created all the prerequisites for this. But I do not think that this will have a serious impact on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Perhaps the process of negotiations at the level of heads of state will begin again, and certain proposals will be put forward.
Because Pashinyan said several times before that “Yerevan wants to see Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of Armenia”.
Even sharper, anti-Azerbaijani statements were voiced. Therefore, I rule out the perception that Pashinyan can take steps to promote serious progress in solving the conflict. On the other hand, so far Russia has little influence on the Pashinyan government. Perhaps, an agreement between the parties may be achieved, on which Pashinyan, after securing a majority in parliament, could go for more serious negotiations, for more serious steps. Maybe Russia will try to put pressure on Pashinyan to achieve at least a little progress in resolving the Karabakh conflict. But the Armenian leadership has opportunities to nullify Russia’s influence or to postpone discussion of this issue for a long time. One should not expect serious progress in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Question – And in another neighboring state of the region – Georgia – interesting processes are also underway. At the last meeting of NATO, held in Belgium, the issue of Georgia’s membership in the alliance was put on the agenda and it was announced that the issue of membership is nearing completion. Is it possible to assume that official Tbilisi can sacrifice the disputed territories – Abkhazia and South Ossetia and enter NATO?
Answer – – I believe that Abkhazia and South Ossetia may be already lost territories for Georgia. Already five UN member states recognize the independence of these regions. And Russia does not think to compromise on this issue. I do not believe that Georgia will be able to convince Russia to close its eyes to Georgia’s NATO membership if it sacrifices Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But I believe that Georgia will one day become a member of NATO. But it’s hard to believe that this will happen in the short term. Because for Georgia there is always the danger of Russia. That is why the West and Georgia are striving to change Russia’s public opinion in this direction.
As I have already noted, Georgia will become a member of NATO, but not at the cost of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Currently, Russia believes that it was able to fully ensure the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But Georgia does not have the strength to change the position of these two regions in its favor and use them as a means of pressure on Russia.
Question – In the prestigious US media, such an idea appeared that in 2019 the Donald Trump administration would increase attention to the South Caucasus. And anyway, does Trump have such a plan, and what place does Azerbaijan have in this plan?
Answer – I do not believe that the Trump administration will pay serious attention to the South Caucasus. Since the Trump administration has a lot to do in other areas and regions, where it has also commitments and obligations. And addressing those issues requires great effort. These are issues related to North Korea – denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The trade war between the United States and China continues, although it is currently frozen for 90 days. It will increase even more. Since China does not think to make concessions to the United States. On the other hand, Trump’s relationship with Congress on the subject of Mexico also remains tense. He lost the last election to the House of Representatives. Resolving the issue of building a wall between the United States and Mexico is also at an impasse. It’s hard to believe that in such a situation the Trump administration can pay special attention to the South Caucasus. But he can, by sending his emissaries, in one form or another to some extent keep this issue under review.
As for Azerbaijan, the United States is currently doing everything to suppress Iran. The Trump administration is aiming to overthrow the current government of Iran and raise a coloured revolution in this country. The US can expect the cooperation of Azerbaijan in this direction. Of course, Azerbaijan will never go for it. But millions of Azerbaijanis live in Iran, and therefore Azerbaijan is important for the Trump administration.
As for Georgia, the United States is trying to protect this country from the Russian threat, further expand the democratic processes here and open the way to NATO for it. In this direction, there may be some progress. And in relation to Armenia, it will continue its traditional policy. But in general, there can be no talk about steps that can excite the region or change its fate.
Question – The tension in relations between Ukraine and Russia was manifested this time in the Sea of Azov. Increasing tensions in the region put on the agenda the cancellation of the agreement on the joint use of the Sea of Azov. What happens if this process opens the path for the NATO and US come to the region?
Answer – Actually, I exclude the war between Russia and the West. Neither Russia nor the West wants it. Therefore, I think that either there will be a solution to the problem, or it will be frozen. Perhaps Russia will somewhat soften its attitude towards Ukraine. Some signs of this are noticeable. But I do not believe that NATO and the United States are thinking of attacking Russia in order to secure their advantage in the Black and Azov Seas.
Based on materials prevalent in foreign media, I can conclude that the personal interests of the President of Ukraine also play a serious role in the aggravation of the situation on the Sea of Azov. In Ukraine, elections are approaching, and such cases were expected. The ruling party is trying to take advantage of this and raise its rating. This thought is also reflected in the statements of Western politicians. Therefore, I am not sure that NATO will take a tough stance towards Russia, as the leadership of Ukraine wants.
– The tension around the crime against the journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues. The US Congress is said to prepare to adopt a bill against the Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, whose name leans in connection with this crime. What do you think, if the role of the prince in this crime is proved, what possible steps can the United States take against Saudi Arabia?
– The attitude of the Trump administration to Mohammed bin Salman is ambiguous. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is the largest US ally in the Middle East. That is why I do not think that Washington will put serious pressure on Al-Riyadh. But if this is confirmed, then they can apply some soft sanctions as a demand from the international community. But, making tougher sanctions is not likely to happen. Mohammed bin Salman has great resources and capabilities. Thanks to financial resources, investment potential, he can influence one or the other politician.
Turkey is simply playing a major role in inflating this issue. Turkey has subjective and objective reasons for putting pressure on Saudi Arabia. It is the evidence presented by Turkey that creates problems for Mohammed bin Salman.
– Can the problem created for Prince Salman turn against Turkey itself?
I exclude the possibility that this can harm Turkey itself. On the contrary, today Turkey is in the center of attention of the entire world media. President Rejep Tayyip Erdogan, too, thanks to the cause of Khashoggi, was able to establish himself as a big leader on a global scale. The authority of Turkey has increased. Erdogan managed to introduce Turkey to the world as a democratic society. But Saudi Arabia can economically put pressure on Turkey. In this regard, an attempt by Saudi Arabia, thanks to its financial resources, is possible to influence investment flows to Turkey from Arab countries that are in its sphere of influence.