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Azerbaijan’s security concerns: a view from within

Fariz Ismailzade, 10 April 2013

Despite the tremendous economic growth of the past decade and relative political stability, Azerbaijan continues to face threats in terms of security and sustainable economic development. Both the geopolitical and regional situation remains tense. With the deadlock in the peace process with Armenia, frustration between the warring sides is growing daily and may easily result in the resumption of hostilities. Relations with Iran have experienced ups and downs, and the recent events in Syria and their impact on Iran might affect Azerbaijan as well. Azerbaijan is trying to maintain healthy relations with Russia, but the recent eviction of a Russian radar station from Azerbaijani soil might endanger this delicate balance. The militarisation of the Caspian Sea is also a dangerous trend for the region.

Economically, Azerbaijan must urgently diversify its growth sectors, as oil production continues to decline. The development of the non-oil sector is a priority for the country to ensure social stability and continued economic growth. In December 2012 the government adopted Strategy 2020, which aims to develop a vision and plan of action for the diversification of the economy, including doubling GDP per capita and developing social sectors such as education and health care.

Azerbaijan will have to rely on an active multilateral diplomacy to ensure its safety and security. It will also have to improve the business climate in the country to avoid social and economic unrest.

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