Armenia Responds to Azerbaijani Provocations by Expanding Ties with Muslim Countries

Azerbaijan that has announced 2017 a year of “Islamic solidarity”, tries to use the idea of “Islamic solidarity” only for the sake of its own interests and to create an illusion of enmity between Armenia and the Islamic world. Baku by all means uses the Islamic factor for the formation of “Islamic unity” in Karabakh conflict settlement, trying to get anti-Armenian statements and resolutions in Islamic organizations.

The author of another Azerbaijani provocation became the President of the country Ilham Aliyev that published an article headlined “The strengthening of Islamic solidarity is a challenge of time” in OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) Journal. The Azerbaijani President calls for Muslim countries to avoid any cooperation with Armenia, because, according to Aliyev, “Armenia’s policy is an attack not only on Azerbaijan, but also on the cultural and historical heritage of Islam in general”. Of course, such an approach is not something new for the Azerbaijani policy. During the recent years we often witness Azerbaijani statements that call for Muslim countries to remain faithful to the ideas of “Islamic solidarity” and the interests of the Islamic Ummah (despite the fact that Azerbaijan most of all betrays the ideas of “Islamic solidarity”, including through cooperation with Israel).

It should be noted that Armenia always tried not to yield to such provocations and did not contradict the European civilization to the Islamic one that is quite dangerous. Instead of it Armenia responded to Azerbaijani provocations by expanding ties with Muslim countries. The Middle East has always had its special place in Armenia’s foreign policy.

During the recent years one of the most actively developing directions is the Persian Gulf. Armenia’s cooperation with the Gulf States (by the way, Sunni monarchies) moves to a new level. Armenia’s relations with Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and now with Qatar are getting a new quality. At the same time it should be noted that not only economic cooperation, but political ties as well are in the spotlight.

Armenian President’s visit to Qatar on May 14-15 (the other visit of the Armenian President to Qatar took place in 2002) was aimed at developing bilateral relations with the country that has a significant role in the Islamic world. The sides stressed the importance of political contacts, particularly in regard with the consultations between the ministries of foreign affairs of the two counties, which will allow to exchange views on the development of bilateral relations, situation in the region, issues, which are sensitive to the parties, and positions.

Moreover, President Serzh Sargsyan voiced the position of the Armenian side on Karabakh conflict settlement in Doha, stating that though we value peace, we will not hesitate even a moment to become a fist again and stand by the just demand of the people of Artsakh. In his turn, the Qatari Emir stressed the importance of establishing peace and stability in the region and underscored that there is no alternative to peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict and dialogue.

Armenian-Qatari high level negotiations once again prove that Azerbaijani efforts aimed at using the Islamic factor against Armenia, are doomed to failure, and the statements and resolutions that Azerbaijan gets within the Islamic organization, have no weight and influence.

Arpine Hovsepyan