Opinion: The future of the China-US-Russia triangle after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan
Since February 24, 2022, the international community's focus was concentrated entirely on the war in Ukraine and the growing Russia – West confrontation. It seemed that nothing could change the situation until the end of hostilities in Ukraine. However, on August 2 and 3, almost everyone’s attention shifted from Ukraine to Taiwan. As the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stated her intention to visit Taiwan, up to half a million people were watching the trajectory of her plane on air flight tracking sites. The negative reaction of China, including the warning of President Xi during his conversation with President Biden that those who played with fire would be perished by it, created hype around this visit. Many were discussing the possibility of Chinese military jets closing the airspace over Taiwan and preventing Pelosi’s plane from landing in Taiwan, while some enthusiasts were even contemplating the possibility of a US-China direct military clash. As Pelosi landed in Taiwan and met with the Taiwanese President, the global social media was full of amateur assessments about the strategic victory of the US and the confirmation of the US global hegemony. However, as the dust settles down, and information noise and manipulation eventually decreases, a more serious assessment is needed to understand the real consequences of this visit.
Thu, 08/04/2022 - 13:52
An Armenia-Azerbaijan peace agreement before the end of the year appears to be within reach
Senior officials of Armenia and Azerbaijan are in Brussels this week to prepare for a leaders summit, scheduled to be held in Granada, Spain on 5 October. Armenian National Security Council Secretary, Armen Grigorian, and Azerbaijani Presidential Foreign Policy Assistant, Hikmet Haciyev will meet with representatives from the EU, France and Germany to prepare for the summit. This was announced simultaneously in Baku and Yerevan immediately after the visit to the region of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar on Friday and Saturday.
Such meetings between Haciyev and Grigorian have taken place in the past, but usually without much publicity. The announcement comes amongst increased speculation that Armenia and Azerbaijan are close to agreeing the text of a peace agreement between them and that this could be signed before the end of the year, a pre-document, may even be signed in Granada.
This development comes despite the fact that recent weeks have seen a high level of tension in the region, which culminated on Tuesday (19 September) in a 24 hours Azerbaijani military operation which re-asserted Azerbaijani control over Nagorno-Karabakh - even whilst leaving hundreds of casualties and thousands of refugees. The operation led to the Armenians of Karabakh agreeing to disarm, and the two sides are now holding talks for the eventual reintegration of the territory within the Azerbaijani state. The process has been mediated by the command of the Russian military contingent in Karabakh.
commonspace.eu political editor says that a picture is emerging, whereby Russia is taking the leading role in the mediation between Baku and the Karabakh Armenians, and with supervising any agreement between them through the Russian military contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, which numbers around 2000 personnel. The EU, through the wider format involving both the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the leaders of France and Germany, can now focus on Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, and the eventual signing of a peace agreement. This arrangement looks very neat on paper, but of course there are many cross cutting issues. How the two processes will evolve in parallel yet in harmony is yet to be seen.
Mon, 09/25/2023 - 07:55
European diplomacy takes stock after an eventful week in the South Caucasus
Sun, 09/24/2023 - 09:07
EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, travelled to the South Caucasus for urgent consultations with the leaderships of Armenia and Azerbaijan after an eventful week which saw a short Azerbaijani military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh leading to the emergence of a completely new situation on the ground.
On Friday, 22 September, Klaar met in Yerevan with Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, and a day later in Baku, with Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev.
Future of Nagorno-Karabakh starts taking shape as one era ends, and another is about to begin
After a long stand-off, a one day war which left hundreds of casualties, and a series of long overdue face to face talks, the Government of Azerbaijan has agreed terms with the leaders of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh which will see Azerbaijan assuming back full control of the territory after a failed secessionist movement which lasted more than three decades. The leadership of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh has now published the points agreed by the two sides at their meeting on Thursday in an official notice released by the Artsakh Information Centre. It contains six points, which the Centre says are already being implemented, including the disarmament and eventual disbanding of the armed formations of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Azerbaijani troops have now consolidated their control over outlaying villages and settlements around the administrative capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, but have not entered the town itself. It seems they will not, yet. In an interview with the Azerbaijani Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Farid Shafiyev, the head of AIR Centre – an Azerbaijani government think tank - said that ”until 2025, the Azerbaijani military and police will not be in Khankendi [Stepanakert],". commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that Azerbaijan is de facto in control of Nagorno-Karabakh, but it understands it needs to thread carefully amidst widespread warnings against ethnic cleansing. Baku needs to re-assert control over the territory whilst creating enough conditions for the Armenian population to stay and not depart en masse. The first task is to deal with the immediate aftermaths of fighting of the last days, namely bury the dead, provide for the wounded and managing the problem of displaced persons. There are also issues related to alleviating the suffering of the civilian population who had been under a blockade for a number of months. Then the more difficult task of trying to find a right political model for Karabakh will start. The last days have seen the end of an era in Karabakh, another one is about to start.
Sun, 09/24/2023 - 08:25
Commentary: War returns to the Caucasus for one day leaving hundreds of casualties, but the prospects for peace remain
War returned to the Caucasus for one day this week, claiming hundreds of lives, displacing more people, and denting further the prospects for peace. Every time blood is spilt, regardless of any justification, the wounds of the past open again, and this time is no exception. Whilst Baku appears to have achieved its objective of frustrating the decades-long Armenian political project in Karabakh, the situation on the ground remains fluid. Tens of thousands of civilians are now caught in the epicentre of a difficult and painful political transition that will see Nagorno-Karabakh re-integrated back into Azerbaijan. How this process will work out is not clear at all, and every step is fraught with risks. So far Baku has shown its stick. Now it needs to show its carrot. Following this week’s events, some said that the peace process is dead. This needs not be the case. In fact in their speeches in the last hours both President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan reiterated their commitment to the peace agenda. In the coming weeks and months Armenia and Azerbaijan need to remain focused on the one objective of signing a peace agreement. Without it the chance of more deadly violence in future will be much higher. The international community too must keep this as its top agenda in the region. The journey has not become easier in the last days, but the road remains open. The journey now needs to be finished.
Thu, 09/21/2023 - 14:38
Opinion: Baku was left no other option but the military one
Thu, 09/21/2023 - 12:32
Since the closure of the Lachin road by Azerbaijan in response to an armed accident on 15 June 15 this year, tensions around the Armenian-populated area in Karabakh currently controlled by the Russian peacekeeping forces, have been brimming. The Armenian side launched a campaign of blaming Azerbaijan in enforcing a “blockade” of the region and even in committing “genocide” of the Karabakh Armenians.
Baku and Stepanakert hold historic talks on the future of Karabakh and its Armenian community
Talks between representatives of Baku and Stepanakert on the future of Karabakh and its Armenian community were held on Thursday, 21 September in the town of Yevlakh. Representatives of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh arrived in the Azerbaijani town of Yavlakh for discussions with Baku officials on the future of the territory and its Armenian population. According to Armenpress news agency the Armenian group is led by Davit Melkumyan, head of the "Artsakh Democratic Party" faction in the parliament of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic parliament, and Sergey Martirosyan, deputy secretary of the Security Council. The group travelled by car in a convoy escorted by Azerbaijani police and Russian forces. For the Baku side, the talks will be led by Ramin Mammadov, a member of parliament who earlier this year was designated by the Azerbaijan government as the lead person for contacts with the Karabakh Armenians.
Thu, 09/21/2023 - 08:19
Hundreds of dead and wounded as a result of twenty-four hours of fighting in Karabakh
Thu, 09/21/2023 - 07:38
The 24-hour Azerbaijani military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh has left hundreds of dead and wounded. Whilst most of the casualties are military personnel there are also some dead and wounded amongst civilians.
Sources close to the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh say that 200 people have been killed and four hundred injured during the twenty-four-hour Azerbaijani military operation to regain control of the territory.
Azerbaijan says it has completed its military operation in Karabakh
Azerbaijan said that it has achieved the objectives for its military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh and that it was suspending all measures.
In a statement, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence said "that taking into account the appeal of representatives of the Armenian residents of Karabakh received through the Russian peacekeeping contingent, an agreement was reached to suspend local anti-terrorist measures on September 20, 2023 at 13:00 on the following conditions:
1. The formations of the armed forces of Armenia and illegal Armenian armed formations located in the Karabakh Region of the Republic of Azerbaijan lay down their arms, leave combat positions and military posts and completely disarm. Units of the Armenian armed forces are leaving the territory of Azerbaijan, illegal Armenian armed formations are being disbanded.
2. At the same time, all weapons and heavy equipment are surrendered.
3. The implementation of the above processes is ensured in coordination with the Russian peacekeeping contingent."
The agreement has also been confirmed by sources close to the Armenian community of Karabakh.
It has been further agreed that representatives of Baku and Stepanakert will meet tomorrow Thursday (21 September).
The Azerbaijani military operation lasted exactly twenty four hours, during which dozens of casualties are reported on both sides.
Wed, 09/20/2023 - 11:54
Biden meets C5 leaders to confirm commitment for Central Asian countries security and prosperity
US President, Joe Biden, on Tuesday (19 September) met in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly, the leaders of the five Central Asian Republics. Attending the meeting were the presidents of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. This was the inaugural C5+1 presidential summit.
A readout from the White House said that the leaders discussed a range of issues, including security, trade and investment, regional connectivity, the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, and ongoing reforms to improve governance and the rule of law.
Wed, 09/20/2023 - 09:17