Sergei Markov: trilateral summit in Baku to increase region's stability
The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, said that the trilateral meeting of the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Hassan Rouhani, which was held in Baku yesterday, will preserve the stability of the region and have a beneficial economic effect.
"I think the region's stability and economic prosperity will flourish. This is the main outcome of the summit," he said.
The expert also referred to the North-South transport corridor. "Its influence can be very significant and positive, because it creates an alternate transport project to the European one, where the handling of a sufficiently large number of goods is possible," the director of the Institute of Political Studies explained.
Secondly, he said that the trilateral trade will be intensified, including trilateral communication in the Caspian Sea.
Thirdly, Markov drew attention to the agreements on more intensive mutual informing on cross-border movement of militants and potential terrorists.
He also said the new trilateral format, which was created during the summit can be considered Baku's major diplomatic victory. "However, the formation of an axis ‘Moscow-Baku-Tehran’ is unlikely. For example, Azerbaijan is a strong ally of Turkey, and Turkey is in the long-term regional confrontation with Iran, but cooperation [between these countries] is possible and necessary," the expert stressed.
In addition, he commented on the bilateral talks between Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, which were held before the trilateral meeting. "I think they discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in detail, and, indeed, there is a possibility of a very serious breakthrough this year. On the other hand, the military-technical and energy cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan will be developed," Markov noted.
"Of course, the Caspian Sea agreement was discussed. There was a need to promote economic and trade relations in the bilateral negotiations between Azerbaijan and Russia. Firstly, for this purpose more attention will be paid to this subject, and secondly, the calculations will be carried out in national currencies – the ruble and the manat," the director of the Institute of Political Studies listed.
"In addition, Russia will buy more Azerbaijani agricultural products and Azerbaijan will buy more Russian goods, in particular aircraft," the expert believes.
Markov also praised the prospects of a possible creation of a gas cartel. "Such cooperation would be quite possible, because Russia and Iran, being the world's gas leaders, cannot cooperate with Qatar, which is in the third place," the expert believes.
According to him, gas consumers, the European Union in the first place, are interested in a competition between Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. "That is why, Moscow, Baku and Tehran are interested in gas prices being rather high, and therefore such gas cooperation would be very effective for them," the director of the Institute of Political Studies said.
Moreover, in the future such a cartel could be an alternative to the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries, which is now, in fact, paralyzed by Qatar, Sergey Markov added.