wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06BAKU1525 2006-10-19 12:23:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baku
Cable title:  

DEFENSE MINISTER ABIYEV RAISES REGIONAL SECURITY

Tags:   PGOV PREL PBTS MARR AJ AM IR RS GG 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO4387
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKB #1525/01 2921223
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 191223Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1504
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 1778
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0486
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 0495
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAKU 001525 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, DAS MATTHEW BRYZA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PBTS MARR AJ AM IR RS GG
SUBJECT: DEFENSE MINISTER ABIYEV RAISES REGIONAL SECURITY
CONCERNS WITH EUR DAS BRYZA


Classified By: A/DCM Joan Polaschik for reasons 1.4 b and d.



1. (C) SUMMARY: EUR DAS Matthew Bryza met with Azerbaijani
Minister of Defense Safar Abiyev on October 2 to discuss the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and regional security issues.
Abiyev said the GOAJ advocates a peaceful resolution to the
NK conflict, but there has been no concrete results in ending
the conflict since the 1994 ceasefire, and that Baku is ready
to "liberate its lands." Abiyev said the NK conflict is a
chief impediment for the GOAJ's further cooperation with the
USG. Abiyev cited several instances of Iranian and Russian
violations of Azerbaijani territory--including two Russian
TU-95 planes that recently crossed Azerbaijani
airspace--while commenting that Iran and Russia are afraid of
close US-Azerbaijani cooperation. Bryza encouraged further
cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia. Abiyev agreed,
while remarking that Tbilisi's relations with Russia tend to
be guided by emotional responses. Reviewing the North
Caucasus security environment, Abiyev said that several
conflicts could erupt, particularly the one in Dagestan. END
SUMMARY.



2. (C) On October 2, EUR DAS Matthew Bryza, accompanied by
the Ambassador and Defense Attache, met with Azerbaijani
Minister of Defense Safar Abiyev to discuss the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and regional security issues.
Bryza told Abiyev that in addition to his work as an OSCE
Minsk Group Co-Chair, he is responsible for the broader
US-Azerbaijan relationship. Bryza noted that President Bush
was pleased with his April meeting with President Aliyev, and
the potential exists for elevating the bilateral relationship
in three key areas: security, energy diversification, and
reform. Cooperation in these three areas can deepen the
strategic nature of the bilateral relationship, while helping
Azerbaijan to become a regional example of political and
economic development.

NAGORNO-KARABAKH CONFLICT RESOLUTION EFFORTS


--------------------------





3. (C) Abiyev welcomed Bryza and thanked him for the USG's
role in the OSCE Minsk Group process. Abiyev said that while
the GOAJ advocates a peaceful resolution to the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Armenian position did not
assure him that the dispute could be solved peacefully.
Abiyev remarked that "we are ready at any time to liberate
our lands" and the GOAJ "under no terms will accept the
taking of our land." Abiyev considered that Yerevan's
policies were pushing Armenia toward regional isolation, as
the country increasingly can be considered an "island."
Turning to the OSCE Minsk Group's efforts, Abiyev said that
while there has been a ceasefire for ten years, there have
been no concrete results in resolving the conflict. Abiyev
stated that recently the Minsk Group has not been able to
move the negotiating process forward. Abiyev also
highlighted Russia's negative role in the NK conflict, noting
that because Moscow is "a key player," this prevents
Azerbaijan from being "apart from Russia."



4. (C) Abiyev noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict also
limits the overall level of cooperation between the GOAJ and
the USG. Specifically, Abiyev cited Section 907 of the
Freedom Support Act as a critical impediment to deeper
cooperation. Abiyev stated that GOAJ is "cooperating as much
as possible," but "we aren't able to move forward in the
current stage."



5. (C) Bryza reassured Abiyev that the USG respects the
MOD's growing capabilities and its mission to ensure
Azerbaijan's security. A peaceful resolution of the NK
conflict will ensure that the three areas of bilateral
cooperation remain intact and keep Azerbaijan oriented toward
the West. Bryza commented that as an OSCE Minsk Group
Co-Chair, he is committed to pursuing concrete progress
toward a settlement and this need not result in any loss of
Azerbaijani territory. Outlining the Minsk Group's plan for
the seven occupied territories surrounding NK, Bryza remarked
that the Co-Chairs aim for the immediate return of five
districts and the quick return of the remaining two
territories. Concerning the status of NK, the Minsk Group's
strategy is to keep its status ambiguous for "as long as
possible."


BAKU 00001525 002 OF 003




6. (C) Bryza said that the USG prefers to see Armenia have
normalized ties with its neighbors. Regional security will
be enhanced if Armenia does not feel isolated, but is instead
integrated into international markets. Bryza also noted that
normalized ties between Azerbaijan and Armenia could open the
door to the removal of Section 907.

SECURITY THREATS FROM IRAN & RUSSIA


--------------------------





7. (C) Abiyev said Iran and Russia are "afraid" of close
US-Azerbaijani cooperation. He also noted that growing
threats in Azerbaijan's security environment are pushing
Azerbaijan to act in a more "active and decisive manner." He
proceeded to highlight several Azerbaijani security concerns
with Russia and Iran.



8. (C) Russia--which is "still trying to link Azerbaijan to
itself"--is extremely concerned by Azerbaijan's ties with the
US and NATO, according to Abiyev. He mentioned that Russia
has been concentrating ships armed with rockets in the
Caspian Sea. Abiyev raised a recent Russian violation of
Azerbaijani airspace by two TU-95 planes. Abiyev also
remarked he had rebuffed Russian Defense Minister Sergei
Ivanov's requests for closer cooperation with the CASFOR
Caspian maritime initiative being pushed by Moscow.



9. (C) Regarding Iran, Abiyev noted that Iran periodically
violates Azerbaijan's territory in the Caspian Sea. Abiyev
cited recent Iranian naval exercises in the Caspian as
worrisome particularly given Azerbaijani-Iranian disagreement
over the Alov oil field. Abiyev also mentioned several joint
Iranian-Armenian projects that concern the GOAJ, specifically
a gas pipeline from northern Iran to Armenia, the
construction of a tunnel between the two states, and a
hydroelectric station. Abiyev also claimed that Armenia
supplied Iran with nuclear fuel.



10. (C) Bryza reassured Abiyev that the USG appreciates the
GOAJ's security challenges. The USG takes Russian and
Iranian invasions of Azerbaijani territory or airspace
seriously. Bryza also noted that as the Ambassador and DoD
DASD James MacDougall have previously said, the USG is
looking to develop clearer consultative mechanisms with the
GOAJ regarding Iran. The USG also is considering the idea of
peacekeeping training for Azerbaijan.

GEORGIAN-RUSSIAN TENSIONS


--------------------------





11. (C) Turning to recent Georgian-Russian tensions prompted
by the September 27 arrest of four Russian officers accused
of espionage by Georgian authorities, Bryza remarked that the
Russian reaction has been massive and disproportionate.
Commenting on the general security threats in the South
Caucasus, Bryza noted that the US desires to act in
"solidarity with our friends," and supports the closest
possible relationship between NATO and Azerbaijan. Abiyev
reaffirmed Azerbaijan's desire for close cooperation with
Georgia, remarking that Azerbaijan has always helped Georgia.



12. (C) Bryza said that the USG supports
Azerbaijani-Georgian cooperation. Azerbaijan's provision of
gas to Georgia last winter was a positive example of this
partnership. Bryza noted that the USG needs regional friends
like Azerbaijan to help the USG and European states
understand Russia's aggressive behavior in the Caucasus.
Bryza complimented the GOAJ for its ability to forge good
working relations with Russia. While some perceive the GOG's
approach toward Russia as too emotional, the GOAJ's
relationship with Russia is marked by calm and the wise use
of resources.



13. (C) Abiyev said that Georgian policy towards Russia is
sometimes guided by emotion. Abiyev specifically cited
Georgian President Saakishvili and Defense Minister Irakli
Okruashvili as examples. Abiyev wryly noted that the GOG
likes to "make noise," but this "noise could come back to
hurt them." Abiyev affirmed that Azerbaijan considers
Georgia a close partner while cautioning that "sometimes
Georgian actions push them (Georgia) away from Azerbaijan."
Abiyev said that he recently hosted a senior Georgian
military officer. During the visit, the Georgian officer

BAKU 00001525 003 OF 003


shared unspecified information about Georgian military plans
regarding Russia (NOTE: It was unclear whether these Georgian
plans were offensive or defensive in nature. Abiyev provided
scant information). Abiyev's main point in relaying this
information to Bryza was that Abiyev had to explain to the
Georgian military officer how mismatched Georgian military
forces were in comparison to Russian forces.

EXPLOSIVE SITUATION IN NORTH CAUCASUS


--------------------------





14. (C) Abiyev highlighted that there are several places in
the North Caucasus where conflicts could erupt. He noted
Chechnya, Inguishetia, and Dagestan. He said that Dagestan
is the most dangerous, as Russian special services are more
active there and are "making mistake by mistake."
Additionally, Russian efforts in prior years to arm elements
of the Dagestani population to fight against Chechnya have
led to a highly-armed population.



15. (C) Bryza responded that the US needs to better
understand the security dynamics between the North and South
Caucasus. Azerbaijan can help the USG understand these
dynamics. Bryza also suggested the possibility of a
trilateral security dialogue among the US-Azerbaijan-Georgia
to analyze the security problems of the broader Caucasus
region. Abiyev appeared receptive to this suggestion,
remarking that Azerbaijan has dealt with these issues for a
long time.



16. (U) Bryza did not have the opportunity to review this
message.
DERSE