Russian defense minister's visit to improve relations with Azerbaijan

Russian defense minister's visit to improve relations with Azerbaijan

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has concluded his visit to Azerbaijan. He met Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Defense Minister Zakir Gasanov to discuss regional security and stability, cooperation in the Caspian Sea, prevention of air accidents and improvement of naval transparency. The defense ministers signed a cooperation plan for 2015.

Vladimir Yevseyev, the head of the Caucasus section at the Institute of CIS Countries, the director of the Center for Socio-Political Studies, said that Shoygu's visit will boost bilateral military cooperation. The expert said that the Russian minister had discussed joint drills and training of Azerbaijani officers in Russia.

Yevseyev reminded that the defense ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey had met in Baku recently. In his words, Russia can use Azerbaijan to develop ties with Turkey, which is a NATO member, and Georgia.
Russia plans to form a brigade to protect oil pipelines. It does not want to create new blocs in the South Caucasus, it wants to form joint security, according to Yevseyev.

Fikret Sadykhov, a professor of the Western University, noted that Shoygu's visit was emphasizing the value of military and technical cooperation with Azerbaijan. He reminded that Russia was supplying weapons, training staff, organizing joint manoeuvres and military projects. Sadykhov emphasized that Russia wanted to form a joint security mechanism of Caspian states.