OE Watch Commentary: Georgia’s security cooperation with Azerbaijan has been increasing over the past few years through a trilateral relationship that includes Turkey, but as the accompanying excerpted article reports, it appears that bilateral military ties between Georgia and Azerbaijan are increasing as well. The article comes from Haqqin, a Russian-language news source in Azerbaijan with ties to the government, and it reports on a recent meeting between the Azerbaijani and Georgian defense ministers.
Outside of any agreements made at the meeting, a statement by Defense Minister of Azerbaijan, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, where he “expressed gratitude to the Georgian people for the support of Azerbaijan in international organizations and recognition of its territorial integrity, and stressed, that Azerbaijan also recognizes and supports the territorial integrity of Georgia,” shows how the partnership continues to take shape. The government of Azerbaijan’s support of the territorial integrity of Georgia is worth noting, but the Georgian government’s support for Azerbaijan in recognizing its territorial integrity is more important, particularly as it relates to Armenia. Armenia and Azerbaijan remain locked in a conflict over the territory of Nagorny-Karabakh.
The Georgian government has maintained a fairly good relationship with the Armenian government over the years, but statements of support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and increased security cooperation with Azerbaijan’s armed forces could have a significant impact on Georgian-Armenian relations. There are several areas that the article mentions as prospects for military cooperation between Georgia and Azerbaijan and it will be important to watch how these develop in the next few years and the impact it could have on Georgian-Armenian relations and security in the Caucasus region. End OE Watch Commentary (Stein)
The Defense Minister of Azerbaijan, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, met with the delegation led by the Defense Minister of Georgia, Levan Izoria…Hasanov emphasized that the Azerbaijani-Georgian strategic partnership is at a high level…military cooperation of the two countries is carried out by providing regional economic projects as well as in the format of the Azerbaijan-Turkey-Georgia military structure…
The (Azerbaijani) Minister again expressed gratitude to the Georgian people for the support of Azerbaijan in international organizations and recognition of its territorial integrity, and stressed, that Azerbaijan also recognizes and supports the territorial integrity of Georgia.
…The two sides also exchanged views on the prospects for cooperation in military, military-technical, military-education, military-medical spheres, joint military exercises, and (other) issues of mutual interest.
At the conclusion of the meeting, a plan of bilateral cooperation for 2018 was signed by the ministries of defense of Azerbaijan and Georgia.