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European security summit clouded by Azerbaijan snub

Europe’s quest to construct a standard geopolitical goal introduced 4 dozen of its leaders to Granada on Thursday, however its credibility suffered a blow when the Azerbaijani president stayed away.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was additionally anticipated to skip the European Political Neighborhood (EPC) summit, a free grouping of European states inside and outdoors the EU and NATO.

However hopes that it could function a platform to calm tensions within the Caucasus, the place Azerbaijani forces have captured Nagorno-Karabakh from ethnic Armenian rebels, had been rapidly dashed.

EU officers had hoped to host Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the occasion in what would have been the pair’s first face-to-face assembly for the reason that offensive.

However Aliyev has been angered by what he sees as French and German bias in direction of the Armenian place, and has refused to journey to the assembly.

“Erdogan’s second absence in a row weakens the EPC as a way to deal with Ankara in a format other than the EU, to which Turkey’s candidacy is frozen,” stated Sebastien Maillard of the Institute Jacques Delors.

“Without Turkey and Azerbaijan, the political community becomes more narrowly European and seems more anti-Putin, give or take a few leaders,” he stated.

“Without a Karabakh meeting, the agenda could flip to the migration crisis,” he stated, predicting that Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would seize the chance, having kickstarted the UK election marketing campaign this week.

‘Anti-Azerbaijan’ temper?

An Azerbaijani official stated Aliyev wouldn’t attend due to “pro-Armenian statements by French officials” and since Paris has stated it plans to ship navy tools to Yerevan.

The official stated Aliyev’s resolution was additionally influenced by “accusations made yesterday by EU Council President Charles Michel”.

Michel, who has mediated a number of conferences between the foes in recent times, criticised Baku’s use of navy drive.

The official additionally cited an “anti-Azerbaijani atmosphere” and stated Baku had needed the assembly to happen in Turkey, its ally, which had welcomed the profitable Karabakh offensive.

In Yerevan, Pashinyan instructed his parliament on Wednesday that he would nonetheless journey to Spain, and expressed remorse he wouldn’t be assembly Aliyev.

“We were in a constructive and optimistic mood, because we thought that a turning point document could be signed,” he stated.

“Until this morning the likelihood of this was very high.”

On the earlier EPC assembly in Chisinau in June, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders met round a desk with Michel, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz.

However the battle has since taken a dramatic flip, directly making the European diplomatic outreach extra vital, with refugees flooding into Armenia, but in addition additional poisoning relations between the foes.

After a lightning offensive by Azerbaijani forces final month, many of the 120,000-strong Armenian inhabitants fled the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is now to be dissolved.

Because the fall of the Russian Empire, this mountainous area has been a part of Azerbaijan, but it surely unilaterally proclaimed its independence with the assist of Armenia when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Ethnic Armenian separatists resisted Baku with the assist of Yerevan for 3 a long time, notably through the first Karabakh conflict from 1988 to 1994 and the second in 2020.

However the worldwide neighborhood by no means recognised the self-proclaimed republic, and Azerbaijani troops have now regained management.

With the Caucasus battle falling down the EPC agenda, Britain’s Sunak and his Italian counterpart Georgia Meloni, will push a plan for powerful motion on migration.

‘Immoral and unsustainable’

On Wednesday, the 27 EU members — that are additionally EPC nations — agreed on the define of a migration reform bundle to go earlier than the European Parliament to raised share accountability for undocumented arrivals.

However for Italy and non-EU member Britain, each going through arrivals by sea, the reform is not going to go far sufficient.

“Levels of illegal migration to mainland Europe are the highest they have been in nearly a decade,” Sunak stated Wednesday.

“With thousands of people dying at sea, propelled by people smugglers, the situation is both immoral and unsustainable. We cannot allow criminal gangs to decide who comes to Europe’s shores.”

Quantity 10 stated Sunak and Meloni would chair a side-meeting on the EPC and announce initiatives to debate “joint action” towards what it dubbed “organised immigration crime”.

Russia’s conflict towards Ukraine will even be on the EPC agenda, with European powers beneath strain to additional improve assist for Kyiv as a political disaster in Washington hurts the parallel US effort.



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