Briefing by Ilham Aliyev and Olaf Scholz on April 26, 2024

Briefing by Ilham Aliyev and Olaf Scholz on April 26, 2024

On April 26, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev embarked on a significant diplomatic mission to Germany to partake in the 15th Petersberg Climate Dialogue. This annual summit, pivotal since its inception in 2010, convened in Berlin this year as a prelude to the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP29, scheduled for November in Baku.

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue has evolved into a crucial platform for global leaders to synchronize their strategies on the pressing issues of climate change. This year, representatives from around forty countries gathered to lay the groundwork for COP29. However, it appears that the climate summit served more as a formal pretext for President Aliyev's visit, which was primarily dominated by high-stakes bilateral meetings with Germany's top officials, including President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The discussions focused on three critical topics: the ongoing peace process with Armenia, human rights concerns, and preparations for COP29. Of these, the Azerbaijani President prioritized the peace negotiations, reporting significant progress in the demarcation of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border—a vital step towards a potential peace treaty hoped to be finalized by the November summit.

Aliyev stated, "Today, as a result of the ongoing process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the delimitation and even demarcation of the border has begun. Four Azerbaijani villages occupied in 1990 and 1992 have been returned to us. The Russian-Turkish Joint Monitoring Center in Azerbaijan ceased its operations today; it is no longer needed. There are very good opportunities to achieve peace."

The prospect of Armenian Prime Minister's participation in the Baku climate summit, as discussed on social media, could mark a milestone event, hinting at a thaw in relations fostered by Germany, which has emerged as a key mediator. Chancellor Scholz emphasized Germany's readiness to support a lasting peace agreement, urging both sides to demonstrate willingness and courage to compromise.

Scholz stated: "With your permission, I would like to emphasize once again that Germany is ready to support you in finding a long-term and lasting solution, if you both want it. I would urge both sides to show willingness and courage to make the necessary compromises. I think 2024 can and should be the year of peace in the region. It brings with it opportunities and responsibilities."

However, human rights issues cast a shadow over the visit. With increasing calls for sanctions from the US Congress and the European Parliament, this topic remains a sore point for Aliyev, who staunchly defended his administration's record. He argued, "Freedom of the media is ensured in Azerbaijan. There is no censorship, the Internet is free, and hundreds of media outlets operate. Therefore, it would be unfair to criticize Azerbaijan for the steps taken to block the development of the media."

Additionally, a question from an Azertac correspondent about Islamophobia and racism in Germany highlighted the defensive stance Azerbaijan often adopts, accusing the West of employing double standards.

The linkage of human rights issues to the climate agenda is likely to intensify, especially as the European Parliament has urged the EU to reassess its energy and climate ties with Azerbaijan. This intertwining of issues suggests that human rights will continue to be a significant topic of international discourse, particularly as COP29 approaches and Azerbaijan stands in the global spotlight.

As Germany continues to wield considerable influence in both climate and human rights policy, the outcomes of this visit could set the tone for international relations and environmental diplomacy in the coming months, highlighting the interconnected nature of human rights and the climate agenda.

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İran Prezidentinin həlak olduğu hadisə Azərbaycan- İran münasibətlərinə təsir edə bilərmi? – Nəsimi Məmmədli Çətin sualda

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