Foreign policy on the Armenian track increasingly resembles a festival of gaffes. This time it was Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly who distinguished herself.
During her visit to Yerevan, this madam demanded in a didactic tone that Azerbaijan “create conditions” for the return of Karabakh Armenians, assured that “Canada stands with Armenia”, and traveled to the conditional border, where she looked at Azerbaijani positions through binoculars. The cherry on top, she said that the draft sanctions against Azerbaijan were “on the table”. Perhaps she expected that all this would make a lasting impression on Baku.
It should be noted that it is not the first time that Madame Joly makes anti-Azerbaijani statements that go beyond logic and ethics. She did make an impression. But hardly the impression she had hoped for.
To begin with, we struggle to recall Ottawa’s similarly principled position during Armenia’s thirty-year occupation of Azerbaijani territories. At that time, the Canadian authorities chose to pretend that nothing noteworthy was going on. Much less should this country take on a mentoring role with regard to ethnic minorities. Suffice it to recall how the Canadian authorities treated the Indigenous population of their own country. And how many mass graves have been discovered in recent years on the territory of “boarding schools” created for Indigenous children. With this track record, it should be quiet on the subject of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations.
As for Madame Joly’s attempts to attack Azerbaijan for the alleged “deportation of Armenians”, the Canadian Foreign Minister should have at least read the report of the UN mission before her trip to the region. That mission recorded no facts of “forcing out”, “violence” and deliberate deportation of ethnic Armenians from Karabakh. And to complete the picture, she should know by virtue of her job that all the conditions for their return have been created. Even a special web portal has been opened.
So, what then does Canada want? Is Madame Minister that clueless? Judging by her trip and her fun fiddling with binoculars at the conditional border, she is indeed strapped for diplomatic professionalism and ethics, but surely, it cannot be that bad…
As for the “sanctions” that this lady tried to threaten Azerbaijan with… she should have Googled or asked someone to prepare information on Telemus Systems. This company produced components for drones and supplied them to Türkiye. But in 2019, Canadian authorities imposed an embargo, because they did not like that Türkiye was conducting anti-terrorist raids in Syria. In the summer of 2020, Ankara and Ottawa had high-level negotiations, the embargo was partially withdrawn, but after the outbreak of the second Karabakh war, the restriction was reintroduced.
The result? Turkish drones did quite well without Canadian components, including optics, while Telemus Systems went bankrupt. So imposing sanctions is fine, but only if you do it with a clear head. While also taking into account the interests of one’s own country and at least the geography.
We have no idea how good Madame Joly was at geography in school, but we can explain a few things to her. For example, Canada buys uranium, essential for nuclear power plants, from Central Asian countries.
Uranium ore cannot be transported by air. It cannot be transported through the territory of Russia due to the sanctions. This means there are two options left: either through the territory of China, which will not agree to such transit due to foreign policy realities, or… through the territory of Azerbaijan. So, if official Canada—and Madame Joly represented the official authorities, not some “club of lovers of Armenian brandy” (and Armenian nonsense)—imposes any sanctions, Azerbaijan has every reason to stop this transit. And to restrict the operations of Canadian companies in Azerbaijan. Our country can do without them.
Of course, the foreign minister of, how to put it delicately, any normal country would have taken all these realities into account BEFORE traveling to Armenia. And would have thought ten times about what to say, what not to say, and whether it is worth going at all. But that is a normal country.
Now for some facts. They in Ottawa can puff up their cheeks all they want, but Canada is not even an independent state formally. The head of state there is the British monarch. Yes, London does not interfere much in Canadian affairs, although it still appoints the Governor General. But the de facto colonial status seems to have “tweaked” the thinking of several generations of Canadian politicians, who are willing to fill the role of proxy for anyone.
Today, Ottawa readily undertakes to do Washington’s dirty work, especially where the Americans themselves do not really want to be seen. And in an effort to please Washington, the Canadian authorities go to all lengths, from the eagerness to threaten Azerbaijan with “sanctions” to the willingness to join the EU mission. However, it seems that even Madame Joly herself does not know what Canada’s relation to the European Union is, especially after the Brexit. But the United States does not want to join this mission, whereas sending an obliging vassal is fine.
Of course, the positions of different countries do not always align. Obviously, the US and France prefer to act against Azerbaijan through their proxies, such as Lithuania or Canada. But one can act as a proxy without sinking to the level of a lapdog. And yet Canada obediently yaps on command and stands on its hind legs….
If a country does not feel like an independent state, it shows in everything. And there is no way to cover up displays of this disgrace, be it with a fig leaf or with a maple one.