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Why Azerbaijani President refuses to accept credentials of US ambassador?

Azerbaijan-US relations have been experiencing a period of tension again since the last few weeks. The reason for this is the biased behaviour of the United States against Azerbaijan in various forms. Certainly, the events are circulating in the context of the signing of a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia until 2024, as promised by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan last year. The announcement of the Armenian Prime Minister’s desire for peace has caused a strong reaction from the existing anti-Azerbaijani and revanchist groups both in the West and in Yerevan. However, the more biased behaviour of the US Department of State in recent days and the issuing of statements with groundless claims against Azerbaijan prove once again that official Washington is not interested in finding a solution to the peace process.

The year 2024 went down in history as a more serious year regarding the straining of US-Azerbaijani relations. Thus, the State Department unfairly accused Azerbaijan of violence against religious tolerance and added the country to the Special Watch List along with a number of countries, further shaking diplomatic relations.

To recall, on January 7, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accepted the credentials of three ambassadors: Peru, Luxembourg, and Japan. In fact, if we exclude Japan, the other two countries – Peru and Luxembourg – cannot be considered countries with such close relations with Azerbaijan. For example, we can mention that Japan was one of the first countries to recognise Azerbaijan’s independence on September 7, 1992. In addition, Japan is among the countries that provide constant support both economically and politically. If we look at the statistics in general, we can note that Japan’s exports to Azerbaijan in 2022 amounted to 6.1 billion yen (41.5 million US dollars). Most of the exports consisted of metal, steel cars, machinery, electric machinery, and other products. At the same time, Japan participated and supported ANAMA in several mine clearance projects in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has always been grateful to the Japanese government for its sincerity and helpfulness.

As for Luxembourg, if we remember how the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and MPs scolded Luxembourg for its pro-Armenian policy, it is difficult to explain President Aliyev’s sweet dialogue with the ambassador of this country. We must note with regret that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, who turned a blind eye to 30 years of occupation and destruction of Armenia, for some reason has a different attitude towards Azerbaijan’s liberation of its sovereign territories. Conducting politics with double standards seems to have been inherited from the United States and France to Luxembourg. However, Mr Jean Asselborn could have listened to the true voice of Azerbaijan by acting somewhat objectively.

At the same time, the Azerbaijani President defiantly ignores the new US Ambassador, Mark Libby, who has been in Baku for a month.

Official Baku cannot forgive the State Department’s demarche, which declared a refusal to cooperate with Baku until the signing of the peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the entry into force of the 907th amendment of the Freedom Support Act, which prohibits state aid to Azerbaijan.

It is difficult to say what official Baku wants to achieve from Washington with such an attitude. However, knowing the nature and mood of the country’s leadership, it is not difficult to guess that the actions of the State Department are perceived as a personal insult.

It is difficult to guess how long it will take for these moods to change. However, there has already been a case in history when Baku quickly changed its harsh negativity towards the West into reconciliation and even asked for help. This was in August 2008, when Russia committed aggression against Georgia and bombed the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline. At the same time, the PKK in Turkiye sabotaged by blowing up the BTC oil pipeline. That’s when Baku “suddenly realised” that it could lose everything without the support of the “hated” West. But apparently, now Baku has decided that, in case of anything, Luxembourg will give it more support.

It should be remembered that the Azerbaijani leadership received all previous US ambassadors immediately after they arrived in Baku, calling the US a “strategic partner,” without whose support Azerbaijan’s energy projects would be impossible.