During the visit to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan German Chancellor will have to balance between interests and values. The first scandal erupted before departure.


Photo: Reuters

It’s amazing: Angela Merkel endured that Azerbaijan has forbidden her, the leader of the fourth on size of the economic powers of the world to come to Baku accompanied by one of the deputies of the German Parliament, representing by her own party, the CDU. Albert Weiler, who is in the Bundestag Deputy Chairman of the parliamentary group on Transcaucasia, after visiting Georgia and Armenia will have to leave the plane of the German Chancellor. Merkel has decided not to cancel his visit to the Azerbaijani capital. But it overshadows the rest of her trip to the region .

Azerbaijan: “the case of Weiler,” human rights and gas

According to the official representative of the government of Germany Steffen Seibert, “weighing all the circumstances” led to the conclusion that the visit to Azerbaijan “is meaningful and important.” As for the Weiler, which entry is banned due to perfect them at the time of the trip to Nagorno-Karabakh, he in an interview with DW said that repeatedly offered after a visit to the disputed territory from the Armenian side to see the line of confrontation and Azerbaijan. The authorities in Baku, blowing the whole story, harmed themselves, said the Deputy.

“The case Wyler” shows that the last part beginning on August 23, a three-day visit of Angela Merkel in the Caucasus, namely the negotiations in Baku will be the most difficult. Azerbaijan due to its rich reserves of natural gas is a strategically important partner for the EU, aiming to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. After the date of this year into operation of the TRANS-Anatolian gas pipeline TANAP, through which Azerbaijani gas went to Turkey, and in the future will be supplied in the EU, Baku’s significance has increased even more. A few days ago, in mid-August, Azerbaijan strengthened its international positions, concluding with four other countries in the region, the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian sea.

Terms accompanying the Merkel delegation of German business circles, the most important topic of the talks in Azerbaijan, as in Georgia and Armenia, will be legal guarantees to investors. According to information from German government circles, during a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the German Chancellor will also touch upon the subject of human rights. Their violations in the country, according to many of the German defenders, so serious that Merkel was not supposed to go to Baku and shake hands with Aliyev in front of photographers and television cameras.

From the point of view of political values of the European Union, Azerbaijan is indeed a “highly complex case”, and acknowledges the researcher of the Berlin Foundation “Science and politics” (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) Uwe Halbach (Uwe Halbach). When the representatives of the EU remind Baku of the rule of law, there is a reject as interference in the internal Affairs of his country, the expert said.

Georgia: successful reforms and not join NATO

The first stop during a trip to the South Caucasus Angela Merkel will make in Georgia. In the opinion of the German government, the country had achieved “impressive economic progress” and the apparent success in numerous Pro-European reforms. In Berlin respond very positively the progress made in the fight against corruption. The international monetary Fund (IMF) expects the 2018 GDP growth of Georgia by an impressive 4.5 percent. With the European Union this country has signed agreements on free trade and Association. Her commitment to Europe is obvious.

At the same time, in Berlin remember about the Russian-Georgian armed conflict in 2008 and considering how the relationship with Tbilisi affect its relations with Moscow. So Merkel will have to once again explain his Georgian interlocutors why their country, despite the successful reform of the army, on the achievements in the economy and in fighting corruption, despite the support of NATO troops in Afghanistan, still have to wait for admission to the Alliance.

Ten years ago at the NATO summit in Bucharest Germany and France interfered with that Georgia named a specific date of its entry into the Alliance. A question about this to this day do not “topical agenda”, noted in Berlin government circles.

Armenia: European values, the shadow of Moscow and the word “genocide”

The theme of Russia will play a big role when you visit Armenia. The opposition leader Nikol Pashinian became the new Prime Minister in may on a wave of “velvet revolution”. He undertook reforms and declared war on corruption. At the same time, he constantly reiterates that he wants to maintain close relations with Russia in the field of economy and security.

Germany Armenia should submit a signal that “we carefully follow the ongoing process of change, as they are clearly directed towards European standards”, stressed in an interview with DW, Uwe Halbach, describing the key challenge Merkel in Yerevan. The task is very difficult: to fully support the appeal of the Armenians to European values, without provoking Moscow.

The visit to Yerevan will have important implications for Germany’s relations with Turkey. Angela Merkel will lay a wreath at the monument to the victims of the Armenian genocide. When in 2016, the Bundestag has described the killing of approximately 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire a hundred years ago as genocide, this led to serious conflict with Ankara. You should carefully follow the order, will deliver the Chancellor of Germany in Yerevan, the word “genocide”.


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