Sergei Markov: "Russia and Azerbaijan must jointly benefit from EU market"

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Sergei Markov: "Russia and Azerbaijan must jointly benefit from EU market"

Today, the 'Putin-Aliyev-Rouhani meeting, Prospects for the Development of Cooperation in the Caspian Region' panel session was held at the Institute of Strategic Initiatives. One of its participants, director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov shared his vision of triangular cooperation with Vestnik Kavkaza.

- What areas of trilateral cooperation were discussed during the panel session?

- The North-South transport corridor, military-technical economical cooperation. Now, due to the growing global instability, all countries are interested in building up their military potential, and Russia is one of the main suppliers of military-technical resources, a supplier of sovereignty. One of the reasons why the Americans do not like Russia so much is that Russia exports sovereignty to other countries.

In this sense, as countries that are clearly focused on maintaining their sovereignty, Iran and Azerbaijan are extremely interested in cooperating with Russia as a country that exports sovereignty in the form of military-technical and political support.

Another important issue is the Caspian Sea, which requires a clear legal status. The Convention on the Legal Status has been signed, but Iran is not completely satisfied with the situation. Today it is necessary to intensify cooperation in the Caspian in terms of the use of oil and gas resources and biological resources.

Since we are holding today's meeting at the Institute of Strategic Initiatives, the attention of its participants was focused on the development of high-tech industries among other things. A proposal was voiced to involve Azerbaijani youth in the production of new projects within the framework of a new economy, the infrastructure created by the Institute of Strategic Initiatives. Many colleagues also noted the prospects of the Russia-Azerbaijan-Iran format, as it corresponds to the current trend towards creating soft geopolitical alliances following the example of the Astana format, whose participants are waging proxy-wars against each other. There is no opposition between them, although their interests do not coincide. Such soft geopolitical alliances are one of the trends in the development of modern foreign policy activity.

- What agenda should be expected at the Russia-Azerbaijan-Iran summit?

- The main issue is how to accelerate the construction of the North-South corridor and extend it beyond Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan, how to stimulate a commodity flow via this route so that the infrastructure contributes to business development. It shouldn't be just a road for sending goods from India to Europe, this transport communication should  help to create jobs and increase economic production, pay salaries to people and taxes to the budget. In addition to the railway, the operation of the sea transport routes along the Caspian Sea is important, because navigation is minimal there now.

In addition, I think there will be consultations on bilateral issues. The bilateral agenda will be presented quite intensively. Both Russia and Iran are under sanctions, but the sanctions against Iran are much stricter, therefore, it’s important to understand how to develop cooperation, how we can exchange goods and services without touching upon areas that the Americans can get their hands on.

- This year, the initiative of the Russian and Azerbaijan Presidents on the development of road maps for economic cooperation between the two countries was announced. What issues can be discussed at a bilateral meeting?

- I think that economic cooperation is on track, but it should be accelerated by involving regions in it. The presidents of the two countries took part in a recent regional forum, which raised the status of the event and gave impetus to regional development. But it is important that businessmen from the regions implement joint economic projects. Azerbaijani colleagues outline the problem of admission of Azerbaijani agricultural products to the Russian market. As for Russia, it sells weapons, military-technological systems, but we are interested in the sale of civilian machinery either.

Russia and Azerbaijan export gas and oil to the European market. It is important for us to cooperate, compile a soft cartel and jointly benefit from the EU market. However, the European Union want us to compete and lower prices, so that there was cheaper gas for them and less profit for us. This is an important aspect worth discussing.