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MOSCOW, November 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Azerbaijan’s President Ilkham Aliyev went on his second foreign visit after inauguration not to Russia as it had been expected but to Ukraine, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported. Although there were many allegations in media about yet-to-be energy deals, Azerbaijan and Ukraine did not sign any documents. However, Kiev spoke of an opportunity to revive GUAM, a regional organization of four post-Soviet states — Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova, with possible participation of Turkey in this association.
Head of the analytical centre Penta, Vladimir Fesenko, said there was no need to make conclusions from sequence of Aliyev’s visits to Kiev and Moscow. “There is no anti-Russian sign in this. The business schedules were simply drafted as they are,” he said.
“Ukraine and Azerbaijan are united in their interest to ensure balance in relations between the West and Russia,” the daily said. “Both Baku and Kiev have not agreed to full-fledged membership of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but the two countries want to build normal, civilized relations with CIS partners. This theme becomes even more important as beginning from 2014 Ukraine will preside over the CIS.”
The director of the Institute of Ukrainian Policy, Konstantin Bondarenko, stressed the importance of Aliyev’s visit to Kiev not from the point of view of resolving pressing energy problems, but from the point of view of strategy. “Our countries are tied by strategic partnership,” he said. “Both Kiev and Baku are interested in developing cooperation in all directions. In some areas such as the creation of infrastructure and transport corridors we can start working already in the near future. Cooperation in other areas such as gas supplies, possibly, should be postponed. But it is important to remember that Ukraine and Azerbaijan are participants in the EU Eastern Partnership project. In due time both countries together with Georgia and Moldova were members of GUAM. Now this project may be revived, but at a different level and at a different scale.”
Vladimir Fesenko said yesterday Yanukovich and Aliyev discussed how to build relations with Georgia after Saakashvili’s presidency expired. They also focused on problems of cooperation with Turkey in which members of the half-remembered GUAM are interested. “Experts in Kiev say the United States that is believed to have authored GUAM and later abandoned it, once again has demonstrated its interest in influencing Eastern European policy and the CIS. This can be for Ukraine the way out of the situation irrespective of how the EU summit in Vilnius would end,” he said.
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