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27 April 2024

Aliyev In Berlin

The Azerbaijani President continued a week of international globetrotting spending Friday at Germany’s Petersberg Climate Dialogue, part of the important preparations for the 2024 COP29 meetings to be held in Baku.

Ilham Aliyev and Olaf Scholz

Image: president.az

In November 2024, Azerbaijan will host the UN Climate Change Conference COP 29, the latest of a massively important series of global summits hoping to nudge world leaders towards a consensus over how to prevent or at least mitigate the effects of climate change. 

To ensure a “transparent and inclusive process” leading up to the conference, a great deal of effort is being put into creating a consistency of approach and coordination with COP28 (Dubai) and COP30 (Brazil) organizers—the COP Presidencies Troika. It was a part of this initiative that brought Aliyev to Berlin this week. Azerbaijan was acting co-host (along with the German foreign ministry) at the 15th Petersberg Climate Dialogue[1] (PCD). That serves as one of the key staging posts for preparing expectations for ambitious yet achievable goals for the forthcoming COP, most notably addressing how to unblock progress on climate finance and how to use AI to multiply efficiencies in solving intermittency problems inherent in renewable energies. 

While the key details are hammered out behind the scenes, the presence of President Aliyev and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the PCD underlined the meeting’s importance as a “crucial moment in the diplomatic calendar.”

Aliyev explained Azerbaijan’s “climate credentials,” which include plans for 2GW of green energy capacity to come online in the country by 2027. However, he freely admitted that this was in large part to free up gas quotas previously used by the country’s power generation industry to be available for export to Europe, which needs to diversify its gas supply away from Russia in the wake of the Ukraine war. Coming after COP28’s global agreed to pivot away from fossil fuels, this message received a mixed reaction, but Aliyev pointed out that in the short term, the world still needs investment in oil and natural gas and that “having deposits is not our fault. It’s a gift from God.”

The Azerbaijani press celebrated the visit, suggesting that Scholz and Aliyev shared the spotlight, “underscored the multifaceted ties between Azerbaijan and Germany,” and highlighted dialogue and regional diplomacy. At a press conference, Aliyev was quizzed over the incarceration of several local journalists on charges that some sources consider to be flawed or fabricated—including the case of one who had previously worked with German broadcaster ZDF. Aliyev insisted that Azerbaijan has “a free press and a free internet” but that “we must protect our media landscape from external negative influences, just like any other country, and everyone must comply with the laws.” 

Meanwhile on the subject of Armenia, Aliyev reiterated that progress was being made on delimitation and demarcation of borders—highlighting the particular success of overcoming a 30-year impasse over four occupied villages in Qazakh Region. While pro-Armenian groups organized a minor protest bemoaning Azerbaijan’s 2023 reconquest of Karabakh, Aliyev praised Germany’s mediation of peace talks and revealed plans for a new upcoming round of negotiations in Kazakhstan aimed at drafting a full peace treaty. Scholz expressed optimism that such an agreement could be signed by the end of this year.


[1] Named after Germany’s official government guesthouse where the first such meeting was organized by Angela Merkel in 2010, the Petersberg Climate Dialogue event is traditionally co-hosted by the German foreign ministry and an appointee from the nation due to hold the next COP meeting.