Crisis in the Caucasus - 2008
Russian / Georgian Crisis and its Impact on Azerbaijan

Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec

September 2008
 Pale purple color designates events directly related to Azerbaijan

 Sept 1

Heavy concentration and build-up of war ships in the Black Sea.

 Sept 3

US Vice President Richard Cheney visits Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Cheney is the highest level U. S. official to visit the Caucasus since the crisis began between Russia and Georgia. Accounts differ between the US and Russia as to what actually transpired at the meeting between Cheney and Aliyev. 

 Sept 4

Cheney visits Georgian President Saakashvili in Tbilisi. US promises $1 billion in aid grants to Georgia, which must first be approved by the US Congress. US says it is fully committed to Georgia's eventual membership into NATO. Cheney also visits Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko the same day in Kyiv where he expresses strong support for Ukraine's membership into NATO. 

 Sept 5

The navy vessel USS Mount Whitney, which the US says is carrying humanitarian aid for Georgia, anchors off Poti, a Georgian Black Sea port, still partially occupied by Russian forces. Poti is larger than Batumi and is connected to Georgia's east-west highway.

The addition of another US warship into Georgian waters risks provoking a fresh outburst from Russia, which has complained that the increasing presence of NATO vessels and US warships in the Black Sea upsets the balance of power in the region.
  President Abdullah Gul of Turkey attends soccer (football) game in Yerevan, Armenia, upon the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan. 

 Sept 7

Russian and Azerbaijani Foreign ministers Sergey Lavrov and Elmar Mamedyarov meet in Moscow.

They also discuss the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Russia declares that they recognize the territorial integrity of Mountainous Karabakh

 Sept 8

Hearings begin at the International Court of Justice in the Hague brought against Russia by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.

The Russian Federation is being charged with ethnic cleansing and for its support of separatism on Georgian territory. The charges relate to instances of ethnic cleansing beginning in the early 1990s and through recent days.
  Turkish President Abdullah Gul plans to visit Azerbaijan on Wednesday, September 10, to discuss what emerged from his visit to Armenia on the occasion of the soccer game on September 5.

 Sept 9

Azerbaijan's Minister of Industry and Energy Natig Aliyev tells the press:
"Azerbaijan has not refused Nabucco project."
  Announcement: Conference cancelled: Azerbaijan-Turkey-US Relationship in Eurasia,
Baku, Sept. 17-18, 2008

 Sept 10

Russian soldiers have begun dismantling some checkpoints in western Georgia near the Black Sea port of Poti and outside the region of Abkhazia [9/10/09]. But Russia plans to keep about 7,600 troops inside South Ossetia and Abkhazia for what Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says will be "a long time."

 Sept 11

President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov visits Azerbaijan September 11-12 upon the invitation of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. The two sides sign agreements. In regard to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan about Nagorno-Karabakh, Karimov says that they have always supported and will continue to support the peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Sept 12 

UZBEK - The two-day visit of President Karimov to Baku concludes with the unveiling of a new statue to the great Uzbek poet and thinker Alisher Navoi in the Narimanov District of Baku. Both Presidents attended the event.

 Sept 13

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki visits President Ilham Aliyev in Baku to discuss mutual cooperation in reinforcing security and stability in the region. Mottaki's visit came one day after his trip to Moscow where he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The visit to the two capitals is deemed very important especially after the war between Georgia and Russia in August.

  Announcement: The following state leaders will address Azerbaijan Parliament in September: Ukraine's President on September 24, Kyrgyzstan's President on September 26, and Russia's Foreign Minister on September 29. 

 Sept 15

Azerbaijan's Defense Minister, Colonel-General Safar Abiyev receives Colonel Malvin Douglas Sax (U.S. Military Attache to Azerbaijan), and Robert Garverick (Head of Political Department of the U.S. Embassy)
  Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov receives delegation of Western European Union's Assembly to discuss regional developments.

 Sept 16

Plans announced: President of Poland Lech Kaczynski will arrive in Azerbaijan on November 13 to attend the 4th Energy Summit. The Lithuanian and Estonian presidents also plan to attend the summit dedicated to the diversification of energy resources transportation. 
  Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev meets with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow. Aliyev also meets with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
  Azerbaijan Parliament considers doubling its military presence in Afghanistan

 Sept 17

Elmar Mammadyarov (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan), visits NATO Headquarters to meet with the Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and to address the North Atlantic Council.
  Russia cements its ties with Georgia's two breakaway provinces - Abkhazia and South Ossetia - by signing friendship treaties envisaging close economic and military cooperation. 
  Matthew Bryza (US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary and OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair) arrives in Baku to discuss a range of regional and bilateral issues, including the continued search for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and recent developments in Georgia. He will give a press conference the following day at the University of Languages. 
Armenia to deliver electricity to Turkey
Armenia will begin delivering electricity to Turkey in 2009. Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian said the agreement for the electricity supply was reached while Turkish President Abdullah Gul was visiting Armenia.

Armenian company High Voltage Power Lines and Turkish company Unit signed the contract on electricity deliveries. The Turkish side will restore damaged portions of high-voltage power lines on its territory and set up new transformers, and Armenia will deliver 1.5 billion kilowatts of energy per year to Turkey, which later will increase to 3.5 billion kilowatts per year.

 Sept 18

French diplomat Bernard Fassier, who is currently one of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, arrives in Baku to meet with Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov to discuss the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Fassier noted that the Minsk Group co-chairs (Fassier along with US Matthew Bryza and Russian Yury Merzlyakov) would soon be meeting in New York.

 Sept 19

Turkey eases Armenia flight quota
Turkey announces it will increase the number of airline flights in and out Armenia that will be allowed to transit Turkish airspace. The newspaper Hurriyet said the move was made to facilitate humanitarian assistance and evacuations from Georgia. Prior to the current crisis in Georgia air traffic was generally routed over that troubled region.

 Sept 20

Baku-Supsa pipeline is ready for operation as soon as inspection of the Georgian section of the pipeline takes place, according to SOCAR president Rovnaq Abdullayev.
The Baku-Supsa pipeline was suspended on August 12 due to military actions in Georgia. It has a capacity of 145,000 barrels per day.
  Resumption of operation of the Central Azeri and West Azeri platforms in the Caspian still has not occurred since it was halted on September 17. President Rovnag Abdullayev of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) announced that the operation has been suspended by Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) because of oil leakage and that underwater inspection would begin today.  
  Russia rejects US proposals for new UN Security Council measures against Iran over its suspect nuclear program amid deteriorating ties between Moscow and Washington. The Russian side underlined the necessity of continuing efforts to restore constructive dialogue with Tehran with the aim of moving forward the negotiation process," the statement said after the meeting in Washington.

The White House warned Iran that it faced possible new sanctions over its failure to stop uranium enrichment, which can be a key step towards making nuclear weapons. But it said poor relations with Russia - a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council - could complicate matters.

 Sept 22

The foreign ministers from Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet on Friday September 26, 2008, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss "frozen conflicts." This urgency to resolve the crisis of Nagorno-Karabakh has been brought on because the war between Russia and Georgia (August 7 / South Ossetia and Abkhasia) has shifted the political landscape in the Caucasus.

Georgia says it shot down a Russian reconnaissance drone over Georgian territory just south of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, the first such incident since last month's war. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said he had no information about an aircraft being shot down.

The drone was brought down early today near the town of Gori, said Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili. "It was flying over the territory between the villages of Khurvaleti and Tsitelutani," he said. "We believe it was patrolling the territory where the Baku-Supsa [oil] pipeline runs." Utiashvili said it was a short-range drone, and suggested it had been launched from Russian positions holding a "security zone" just a few kilometers north of Gori.

Russian forces continue to hold positions inside undisputed Georgian territory after they repelled a Georgian assault in early August to retake South Ossetia from pro-Moscow separatists. Under the terms of a French-brokered pullback deal, Russian forces are due to withdraw from the "security zones" adjacent to South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, by October 10.

Sept 23

Russia says that it will not participate in a meeting with the United States this week at the UN to discuss Iran's nuclear program. This is the most significant indication yet of how the war between Russia and Georgia has impacted broader issues.

Sept 24

Governor Sarah Palin joins Senator John McCain at the U.N. to meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday. 
  The three chairmen (US, Russia, France) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) - US Department of State Matthew Bryza (USA), Bernad Fassier (France) and Yuri Merzlyakov (Russia) - met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and then reported to the Special Representative of the OSCE Acting Chairman Heikie Talvitie about the recent developments in the negotiations. Voicing the position of their respective governments and the OSCE, the co-chairs stressed again that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict should be settled diplomatically, not by force.

Sept 26
The three OSCE chairmen (US, Russia, France) - US Department of State Matthew Bryza (USA), Bernad Fassier (France) and Yuri Merzlyakov (Russia) - met with Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan Elmar Mamedyarov and Armenia Edward Nalbandyan.

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