Hiqmet Hadjiyev, the head of the foreign relations of the office of the Azerbaijani president, has announced that Baku is not considering any status within CSTO. Hadjiyev also stated that Azerbaijan has good relations with all the CSTO member states except Armenia.
The issue of any status for Azerbaijan within CSTO started being discussed after Russia’s initiative of amending the charter of the organization which was ratified by the Armenian parliament a few days ago. It envisages the status of observer and partner. Armenia expressed the opinion that Moscow was doing it for Baku.
Yerevan announced that Baku would not receive any status in CSTO for well-known reasons. The situation was mixed a little by the statement the Russian vice prime minister made in Yerevan that Moscow wants to see not only Baku but also all the other post-Soviet states with some status within CSTO. At the same time, he said that the issue is addressed through the charter. And the charter requires consensus.
The spokesperson for the Armenian foreign ministry announced that such wishes will remain wishes unless Yerevan’s approval is there.
And now Azerbaijan’s statement follows that it does not want any status in CSTO. Baku has never officially expressed such a wish. Azerbaijan spoke about CSTO last year in August but at the level of a member of parliament and several experts. Of course, the authoritarian government in Azerbaijan is a reason to conclude that opinions at this level also emanated from the government. On the other hand, however, it is essential that Baku officially has not expressed interest in CSTO.
The reason is that last year in August Azerbaijan touched Russia’s pulse for response to Baku’s wish. And the purpose of this “reconnaissance” for Aliyev was to understand the scope of the revolution in Armenia because it was beyond doubt that it changed the state of things not only at the domestic level in Armenia.
Russia did not respond to Azerbaijan’s “reconnaissance” though the initiated change in the charter and the definition of the new status could be seen as such. Apparently, Moscow also tried to touch the pulse in CSTO or to reject Baku by highlighting the Armenian factor, through Armenia.
It is also possible that Armenia merely closed the issue to block Russian-Azerbaijani mutual or counter “reconnaissance”.
At the same time, Baku’s statement contains a slight hint that Azerbaijan gets from CSTO what it needs through bilateral relations. This is close to being true or is true, considering at least what happened in April 2016. The changes are there but they are tactical and have not grown into a strategy.
In this sense, Armenia has actually thwarted the tactical game but the strategic issue remains open.