On August 31, the Georgian Foreign Minister held a farewell meeting with outgoing Azerbaijani Ambassador Dursun Hasanov.
Dursun Hasanov, who has served as the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Georgia since early 2017, was recalled from his post on August 17, following an official order from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. President Aliyev also issued an order to appoint Faig Guliyev to the post the same day as Hasanov was recalled.
The replacement of Ambassador Tbilisi coincided with Aliyev’s dismissal of Eldar Hasanov, Azerbaijani envoy to Belgrade who was arrested on corruption charges in Baku on August 13 and formally dismissed from his position on August 17.
Alleged link to arms sale scandal
President Aliyev’s move came a few weeks after Baku-based online magazine haqqin.az, – known to be close to the Azerbaijani leadership – claimed in mid-July that Armenia received ammunitions (mortar rounds and MLRS systems) from Serbia and Russia through Georgia. The allegations were aired in the context of renewed Armenian-Azerbaijani clashes in Tavush/Tovuz region, bordering Georgia.
Opposition MP from the Azerbaijani Republican Alternative Party, Erkin Gadirli, linked that the dismissal of the two ambassadors on the same day, saying it proves the linkage of Serbia and Georgia to weapons sales to Armenia.
Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Gakharia, promptly denied Georgia’s role in the arms sale scandal and referred to the allegations as “unverified information disseminated by the media.” The PM Gakharia also reaffirmed Georgia’s commitment to a strategic partnership with Azerbaijan.