Dr. Stefan Meister, Program Officer at the German Council on Foreign Relations: We need EU to pressure Russia to use not the conflict in their interest

Dr. Stefan Meister, Program Officer at the German Council on Foreign Relations: We need EU to pressure Russia to use not the conflict in their interest
# 14 March 2011 10:23 (UTC +04:00)
The analyst believes that the current security situation in the Caucasus region is tensely.

“It is first of all the conflict on Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia which is heating up again” he mentioned, arguing the Azerbaijani military budget in 2011 will increase because this is a reaction on the Russian deal with Armenia on the extension of a Russian military basis for new Russian weapons:

“But it is also about the Azerbaijan feeling, that there is no progress in the international negotiation process and a low interest of the international community”.

Speaking about the US role on the Karabakh negotiations, Meister is not skeptical. “I don’t think Washington reduced its activities first of all because of the Russian-Georgian war but because of the new priorities of the US government under Obama towards Russia and the domestic and other foreign policy challenges (Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq) of the Obama administration”.

“This policy is still in the interest of the current US administration, but maybe it will change with a stronger Republican pressure in the US-congress”, he adds.

“On the other hand, the US government and Congress have so many challenges in the domestic policy and in other regions (beside Iran and Afghanistan first of all in North Africa), that I am skeptical about a fundamental change”.

However, Meister mentions, increasing US influence in the South Caucasus region is not in Russia’s interest as well.

Coming to Washington-Moscow bilateral cooperation, he is optimistic: “I think we are at the highest point of the Russian-US security cooperation. The tensions on a missile defense system will go on, and it will be difficult, to find a solution. Russia is cooperating with the US only if its policy coincides with its national interests”.

Asked if there is a possibility for Georgia and Azerbaijan become a NATO member in the nearest future, the analyst said “No”. “It is a long-term project, but first of all, the conflicts have to solve”.


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