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Azerbaijan: What’s with Baku’s Serbia Connection?

Building a Balkan-Caucasus relationship. (Photo: President of Azerbaijan)

Azerbaijan has hosted the Eurovision Song Contest and has obtained a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Now officials in Baku seem intent on raising the country’s profile as an international donor.

“Azerbaijan already plays a role globally as a political force,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev proudly declared at an April 16 cabinet meeting, local media outlets reported. “Taking our financial resources, we will play a role as a financial force, too.”

Putting the country’s money where Aliyev’s mouth is, the Azerbaijani governing recently extended a $370.7 million (300-million-euro) loan to Serbia for the construction of 40 kilometers of a highway (E-763) that runs to Romania, Montenegro, and Italy. The project includes the construction of 78 bridges and five tunnels. The loan to the Balkan state is Baku’s second largest after the 2011 outlay of $755 million to Georgia to finance construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.

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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku. This article was amended on June 7, 2012 to correct the description of the Mexican Senate's 1992 resolution.

Azerbaijan: What’s with Baku’s Serbia Connection?

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