Ukraine poses a dilemma to the three South Caucasus countries, but still have one important card they can play
Dennis Sammut, Director of LINKS Europe and Managing Editor of Commonspace.eu discusses how the countries of the South Caucasus have reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and what they should do next. “In the present circumstances, the strongest card that the three countries have, if they choose to play it, is regional co-operation and an informal loosely co-ordinated common approach”, he says.
The South Caucasus countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have for the last thirty years pursued different trajectories in their foreign policy. Armenia allied itself with Russia and joined the Russia led CSTO military alliance and the EAEU economic bloc, also Russia led. Azerbaijan on its part declared itself non-aligned, and currently heads the Non-Aligned Movement as its Chairman; Georgia on its part declared early its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and wants to join NATO and the EU as soon as possible.
As expected, these differences initially reflected themselves in the diplomatic reaction of the three countries to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At a special session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday (2 March), Georgia voted together with 140 other countries in favour of a resolution condemning the Russian invasion. Armenia abstained, and Azerbaijan was absent. That was the formal bit. Behind the scenes, however, the three countries have agonised on how to deal with this crisis that for them has deep and unpredictable implications. Their response has been unusually similar.
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