USUBOV IN YEREVAN. The Interior Minister is the highest ranking Azerbaijani official ever to travel to Armenia officially since the collapse of the USSR.

The Interior Minister of Azerbaijan Ramil Uzubov has arrived in Yerevan to participate in a meeting of CIS Interior Ministers. Earlier Azerbaijani media close to the government had reported that Azerbaijan will not be participating in the meeting. News.am reported that Usubov arrived in Yerevan on a plane carrying the Russian delegation

In a comment to commonspace.eu, an international observer of the region said that the change of heart came after considerable pressure from Moscow on Baku on the issue. The Minister of Interior of Russia was in Azerbaijan last week, as was the Head of the Presidential Administration and it is understood that they both had made representations on the matter. A few days ago a Russian delegation also facilitated the arrival of an Armenian boxing team to Baku to participate in a world Boxing Championship.

Uzubov is considered as one of the last of the dinasours in the region, and an unlikely messanger of peaceful tidings. A visit of such a high ranking Azerbaijani official to Yerevan however can only be considered as a good sign.

Visits of Armenians to Baku and Azerbaijanis to Yerevan have been rare and far between in the last decade. People who have participated in such visits have often been subject to criticism and sometimes interviewed by the police on their return. Uzubov's visit to Yerevan may indicate a change of policy in this regard. An Azerbaijani civil society activist in a comment said "We can only welcome this visit. Hopefully now if one of our people goes to Yerevan he or she will not be called in for questioning as a traitor".

Commonspace political editor said that Russian officials have recently been speaking of the need to introduce confidence building measures to support the Karabakh peace negotiations. It is therefore likely that more visits of this nature will take place in the future. Next year the Eurovision Song Festival will also be held in Baku and Azerbaijan has already indicated that it was ready to receive the Armenian participants and guarantee their security.

source: commonspace.eu newsroom.

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