Specialist craneage company EnerMech has been awarded an £8.2m operation, maintenance and inspection contract by BP in Azerbaijan. The three-year deal includes the provision of core personnel for offshore crane operations in Baku, lifting equipment, engineering and technical services, spare parts, repair services, and training facilities.
TEAS has launched a campaign to encourage MPs to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 408, tabled on 6 July in the House of Commons to highlight the outstanding UN and EU Resolutions on Nagorno-Karabakh, urging a swift conclusion to the conflict. Tabled by Mark Field MP, Chair, Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), the EDM is sponsored by MPs from the three main political parties.
Just one day after the Azerbaijani-Armenian meeting in St. Petersburg, the night of 18–19 June saw violence along the northern part of the Nagorno-Karabakh contact line, near the Terter region of Azerbaijan. This confrontation resulted in the deaths of four Armenian soldiers and one Azerbaijani.
"In Azerbaijan, religious leaders are more like brothers – the word 'tolerance' is insufficient. I thank God that I was born in that country", stated Gennadiy Zelmanovich, Chairman of the European Jews, at a meeting at the House of Lords on 18 June, organised by Lord Laird on behalf of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS). Speaking before a high-ranking delegation of religious figures from the UK and Azerbaijan, he went on to reveal that his homeland has a Jewish community of 30,000, rendering it unique in the region, which is dominated by mono-ethnic states.
The date of 9 May is remembered with sadness by Azerbaijanis, as that day in 1992 saw Armenian armed forces occupy the city of Shusha, a predominantly Azerbaijani-populated town in Nagorno-Karabakh. Established in the 18th century, it was a capital of the independent Karabakh khanate, and Shusha became a cradle of Azerbaijani Turkic culture, literature and music.
On 9 May, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, whilst on a working visit to Moscow, participated in events marking the 65th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). This year’s commemoration was attended by heads of state and governments, representing over 20 countries. Over 11,000 troops, including an Azerbaijani peacekeeping force, led by Major Elshad Rustamov, marched through Red Square.
Fitch Ratings has upgraded Azerbaijan’s credit rating to 'investment' grade, attributing this to improved administration of the country’s energy resources, helping it bolster its public and external finances. Andrès Klaar, Associate Director, Fitch Sovereigns Group, explained: "This reflects the rapid increase and prudent management of the oil revenues being used to build a strong public and external net creditor position. The strong sovereign balance sheet provides a powerful buffer against potential shocks."
US Congressman Jim Moran from Virginia has sent a letter to the Azerbaijani diaspora in the US regarding the Khojaly Massacre, committed by Armenian forces on 26 February 1992, claiming the lives of 613 Azerbaijani civilians. He pledged: "I will raise the issue of the Khojaly Massacre when I next meet Armenian officials, and will implore them to solve the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, together with their Azerbaijani counterparts. The US has both moral and security interests in achieving peace in the Caucasus."
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on the South Caucasus, calling on Armenia to withdraw its troops from Azerbaijani territory and requesting greater EU involvement in regional stabilisation. It was submitted by by Bulgarian Socialist MEP Evgeni Kirilov. Amanda Paul, Analyst, European Policy Centre, commented: "This Resolution is a positive step and helps initiate a change in the balance, operating in the face of the Armenian lobby." However, Paul issued a note of caution, continuing: "Unfortunately, regardless of their origination, Resolutions tend to remain on paper.
The White House has nominated Matthew Bryza, former OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair, as new US ambassador to Azerbaijan. The post had been vacant since July 2009, following the redeployment of Ann Derse. Bryza joined the US Foreign Service in August 1988, his most recent position being as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from 2005–09. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing policy and managing US relations with Caucasian and southern European countries.