How about a confederation with Azerbaijan?
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, August 24Against a background of a strengthening Russian position in the South Caucasus and further expansion of a strategic partnership between Russia and Armenia, Georgia still considers creating some type of alliance, possibly a confederation, with Azerbaijan.
The Georgian authorities make such statements without any explanations to the public. It seems as if they don’t care about the people's view on the issue – neither that of those in the political sphere of the country or the general public. Analysts predict that if the Georgian administration takes practical steps towards implementing the confederation idea, it will be negatively assessed by the opposition as well as by the majority of the population. An eventual consequence could be the deterioration of the Azeri-Georgian partner relationship.
The idea of creating a confederation between Georgia and Azerbaijan first was aired at a high level meeting of the Presidents of the two countries in Batumi just about a month ago. Saakashvili mentioned that the relationship between Georgia and Azerbaijan was more than purely a partnership and this creates suitable conditions for setting up a confederation. Saakashvili’s Azeri counterpart, Aliyev did not give a statement or even a significant reaction about the idea. Azeri political analysts however regard the idea as useful and mentioned that a confederation would be beneficial to both sides; in addition that it is in line with the concept of “a united Caucasus without borders”.
It has been quite some time since this issue has been talked about by the Georgian authorities or politicians. On August 20, however, after the governmental session, Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze, made a statement during which she commented that creating an Azeri-Georgian confederation would facilitate regional stability. She added that from a technical point of view, Georgia has already stated its readiness to create a confederation with Azerbaijan, but the issue needs further deep consideration. “This is work for the diplomats,” Kalandadze said, adding that several legal issues will need to be negotiated, but that concluding such an agreement would help the development of both countries. These negotiations should clear up different aspects of regional development. The message conveyed by Kalandadze is very straightforward: Georgia welcomes and is ready to form such confederation with Azerbaijan.
The statement made by the Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister provoked an immediate reaction from Armenia. At a press conference in Yerevan on August 19, political analyst Agaron Adibekyan stated, that if Georgia agrees to form a confederation with Azerbaijan, it will be pronouncing a “death sentence” upon itself. Adibekyan expressed his “concern” that not only would Georgia's demographic situation be in danger, but even the Georgian language would be under threat as Turkish would become a joint state language together with Georgian. Meanwhile the Georgian opposition mocks with remarks that instead of joining the EU or NATO, as promised, Georgia will join a confederation with Azerbaijan, hinting that Azerbaijan lacks much of what is required to comply with Western standards of democracy. A third member of the confederation – Turkey is not being ruled out. A while ago some Turkish officials aired the idea of creating a union of the Mtkvari (Kura) basin countries. This is an intriguing prospect, as should Georgia be in a confederation with Turkey also, it will indirectly become a member of NATO, and if Turkey joins the EU, then Georgia will also join the EU. For now it is all just a matter of speculation and fantasy, but it is worth digging deeper. Is this only Georgia's initiative? Is it also from the Turkish and Azeri side or is it a recommendation from Saakashvili's Western friends? Or is it just Saakashvili's own dreamlike illusion? One can only predict that if this idea is promoted further, it will definitely result in solid protests from the opposition.