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Post-war peace and cooperation to lead to prosperity and well-being in the South Caucasus – OpEd

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The trilateral declaration signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and the President of the Russian Federation on November 10, 2020 is a fundamental document who decided to complete military operations and establish peace, security and cooperation in the region.

The declaration also reflected clauses on the opening of all transport communications in the region, through which Azerbaijan will have direct land access to its enclave, the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, and Turkey via the Meghri transport corridor ( which had been used before the conflict in Soviet times). passing through Armenia.

In addition, the tripartite agreement signed by the same parties in Moscow on January 11, 2021, assessed the new reality and focused on future issues such as establishing economic relations, restoring infrastructure, energy, residential buildings and infrastructure social.

In 1993 Turkey, not only because it was a sister country to Azerbaijan, but also because it had a fair approach, closed its borders with Armenia due to its policy of invasion. This has influenced Armenia both politically and economically in a negative way. The day after the victory parade held on December 10, 2020 in Baku, Azerbaijan, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a joint press release and offered a new six-sided platform for peace and cooperation in the region, including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Iran and more Armenia, in case the leaders Armenians would draw the correct conclusions from the war and renounce its unfounded allegations.

Azerbaijan and Turkey have shown their readiness to end the enmity, take peaceful measures and act on it. Turkish foreigner Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said that if Armenia observes the ceasefire, then relations can be normalized, and it will be in the interest of Armenia and its people.

At this stage, Azerbaijan’s liberation of Karabakh from Armenian occupation opens a new page not only in the history of two countries, but also in the entire South Caucasus region. Since everything has been destroyed, it is not easy to revive the liberated territories, but Azerbaijan has already started to implement everything that is necessary. In this sense, the concept and master plans of all the liberated cities are prepared by the Azerbaijani government for the development of these areas.

As a state, Azerbaijan will do the main work on its own. At the same time, Azerbaijan is opening its doors wide to private investors, as well as to cooperating government structures that will participate in the reconstruction of the liberated areas.

Several states and companies are already determined to expand their relations with Azerbaijan and contribute to the development of industry in the liberated areas. By making investments, local and foreign investors will be able to secure their business interests and have a say in Azerbaijan’s long-term supply of uninterrupted, cheap and environmentally friendly energy sources.

When Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif was received by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on January 25, 2021, he said that Iran is also open to cooperation and wants to actively participate in the restoration of the liberated areas. President Aliyev has repeatedly stated that the freed land will be green energy zone. The hydropower plants with the greatest potential in the region, Iran and Azerbaijan have agreed to cooperation in the field of renewable energies for the construction of the hydropower junctions of Khudaferin and the Maiden tower.

In addition, due to Italy’s position during the war, Italo-Azerbaijani relations improved further. Therefore, Italian government and companies will also actively participate in the reconstruction process. On February 3, 2021, when Aliyev received in video form a delegation led by President Fabrizio Di Amato of the leading international company Maire Tecnimont Group operating in Azerbaijan for more than seven years, it was stated that they were involved in New projects.

January 27, 2021, Azerbaijani Minister of Economy Mikayil Jabbarov met the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle Litzenberger. The ambassador said that American companies are also ready to participate in the restoration of the liberated lands, in particular, they are interested in the management of water resources, road and other infrastructure, cooperation in the field of technologies digital and innovative. On the same day, the Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, said that large world-famous French companies are represented in Azerbaijan and that there are no barriers the implementation of projects by these companies in the liberated Azerbaijani territories.

Under Aliyev’s leadership, Azerbaijan pursues a constructive policy and cooperate with countries in the region and around the world on mutually beneficial terms. According to the high-level agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the government of Turkmenistan on January 21, 2021 in Ashgabat on exploration and development joint hydrocarbon resources of the “Dostlug” field in the Caspian Sea.

Another solid fact in this direction is that with the completion of the Trans Adriatic pipeline, the last segment of the Southern gas corridor, and which for Azerbaijan is a historic achievement.

With the construction of this mega project, Azerbaijan has once again proved to be a reliable partner for the parties involved such as the government of Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Italy and the European Commission, the supporting parties, the US and UK and leading international financial institutions, World Bank, EBRD, Asian Development Bank, European Investment Bank and Asian Investment Bank in infrastructure.

In addition, transport projects in the region have a special role to play in the long-term development of the region, ensuring stability and reducing the risk of war to zero. In this sense, the new transport links are now at the discussion stage. There will also be a rail link between Russia and Iran via the territory of Nakhichevan and a rail line between Turkey and Russia. The railway line from Russia to Armenia can be opened which can only cross the territory of Azerbaijan.

These are all positive trends and demonstrate that not only the peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan, but also the peoples of other countries in the region, can benefit from these forms of cooperation.

All of this clearly shows that the region’s problems can be solved through dialogue and cooperation. Despite the fact that some political groups in Armenia are calling for the preparation of a new war against Azerbaijan, there are also politicians who really assess the new reality and consider that participating in one of the aforementioned platforms corresponds to the interests of Armenia. As such, the statement came from Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mger Grigoryan that restoring transport links in the region will in itself guarantee Security of Armenia and statement by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that Armenia needs to improve relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan and contact points with them at a meeting of the country’s Security Council are seen as positive messages.

The Turkish-Russian Observatory which opened in the Azerbaijani district of Aghdam on February 5, 2020 has the responsibility to take necessary measures to prevent ceasefire violations. Armenia should analyze the consequences of its actions appropriately and recognize that the only way to ensure the stability and well-being of all nations in the region is through peace and cooperation.

At a time when the world economy is experiencing serious problems in the current pandemic, Azerbaijan plans not only to restore and rebuild the territories freed from Armenian occupation, but also to implement the concepts of “smart city” and “smart village” with the initiative and instructions of President Aliyev.

As mentioned, the land released will be a “green energy” area. Despite the fact that Armenia destroyed all hydropower plants, preliminary investigations have already been carried out and the first “smart village” project will be implemented in the ruined village of Aghali, Zangilan district.

The project was launched on February 14, 2021 during the visit of Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyevas to the districts of Fuzuli, Zangilan, Lachin and Jabrayil.

The “Smart village” project will be carried out around five main components such as housing, production, social services, “smart agriculture” and alternative energies. The energy needs of 200 village houses to be built will only be obtained from alternative energy sources.

In the destroyed and looted village of Gulabird, a hydroelectric power station was put into operation in a short period of time. This project is the first power station in the liberated lands, and more will be built in the near future.

Another special place among the restoration works is related to the electricity supply. In this regard, AzerIshig Joint Stock Company has already extended power lines to the city of Shusha.

* Shabnam Hasanova, political analyst, Ph.D. candidate in political science, Baku, Azerbaijan

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