Region

South Caucasus

Stories under this heading cover the South Caucasus – a region encompassing Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the unrecognised entities of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

For those interested specifically in Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and events and developments in and around Nagorno-Karabakh following the 2020 44-day war, check out our sister page, KarabakhSpace.eu.

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Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Beware of Americans bearing gifts

Opinion: Beware of Americans bearing gifts

In this op-ed for commonspace.eu, Benyamin Poghosyan says that the visit of Nancy Pelosi to Armenia created quite a lot of hype, since some saw in it the prospects for national salvation. But the visit's "democracy vs authoritarianism agenda" is risky for Armenia he argues.   Armenia should send clear signals to Russia and Iran that it has no intention to join the “democracy vs. authoritarianism fight” and will never allow anyone to use its territory for anti-Iranian or anti-Russian activities.
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Opinion
Opinion: A peace process in jeopardy

Opinion: A peace process in jeopardy

"The recent flare-up along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and the subsequent developments in Armenia  raise concerns that the region might be, unfortunately, still far away from a peace treaty and a peaceful future", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "Surprisingly for many observers, the proposal for a peace treaty on the basis of mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally-recognized borders is not supported by a large number of Armenians", he adds.
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News
UN Security Council starts discussing situation on Armenia-Azerbaijan border

UN Security Council starts discussing situation on Armenia-Azerbaijan border

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday (14 September) started discussing, in close session, the situation on the Armenia and Azerbaijan border. The meeting was held at the request of Armenia, who accuses Azerbaijan of encroaching on its territory. Diplomatic sources told the media that there was overall in the discussion unanimity in calling on the sides to immediately cease hostilities and return to diplomatic negotiations. It is understood that the Council will continue with its deliberations today, and the meeting this time will be in public. Meanwhile, the Secretary of National Security Council of Armenia on Wednesday evening told Armenian Public TV that following the mediation of the international community a cease fire had been agreed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan starting from 20.00 hours. There have so far not been any reports of new clashes overnight. In Armenia, the political situation remains tense, with the opposition collecting signatures from MPs for the impeachment of prime minister Nikol Pashinyan. But so far only opposition MPs have joined the initiative which is likely to fail.
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News
Armenia and Azerbaijan bury their dead

Armenia and Azerbaijan bury their dead

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been burying the dead from the violence on their border on Tuesday. Official figures indicate that 49 Armenian soldiers and fifty Azerbaijani soldiers were killed during the overnight clashes from Monday to Tuesday (12-13 September). Reports suggest that the final figures are likely to be higher. Armenia has also reported three civilians injured during the fighting. Details as to what exactly happened are unclear. Azerbaijan says it was responding to Armenian provocations. Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of trying to take by force chunks of its territory in order to establish a land corridor between its mainland territory and the exclave of Nakhichevan which is separated by the Armenia  province of Siyunik. There have been widespread calls by the international community for an immediate end to the fighting and for both sides to return to previously held positions in order to allow all issues to be resolved in negotiations. Armenia on Tuesday appealed to Russia, with which it has a defence treaty, and to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, of which it is a full member, for support. A virtual summit of the CSTO countries took place on Tuesday afternoon and the organisation agreed to send an investigation mission to the region. EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, has arrived in Baku where he is expected to consult with government leaders before travelling to Yerevan.
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News
Armenia triggers mutual defence mechanism with Russia and CSTO

Armenia triggers mutual defence mechanism with Russia and CSTO

In the aftermath of deadly clashes with Azerbaijan overnight, which left dozens of Armenian soldiers killed or injured, Armenia has triggered mutual defence clauses in its agreements with Russia and with the Russia led Collective Security Treaty Organisation, of which Armenia is a full member. Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke on the phone with Russian president Vladimir Putin as the fighting was raging. Armenia's Defence and Foreign Ministers have also been in touch with their Russian counterparts. Armenia has a defence treaty with Russia. Armenian leaders have also been in touch with the Secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, of which Armenia is a full member. It is understood that the Council of the CSTO is to meet soon to discuss the matter. There is increasing frustration in Armenia at the failure of both Russia and the CSTO to support it in the face of what it claims to be Azerbaijani aggression.
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News
Updated: Intense diplomatic activity after clashes on Armenia-Azerbaijan border

Updated: Intense diplomatic activity after clashes on Armenia-Azerbaijan border

International efforts are under way to try to contain fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar said the EU is in close contact with the sides to contribute to de-escalation. "The fighting along the Armenian-Azerbaijan border & the reported intense shelling need to stop immediately", Klaar tweeted. Dozens of soldiers are reported to have been killed in the heavy exchange of fire overnight. Armenia says that at least 49 of its soldiers are dead. Azerbaijan has also reported casualties. It is not yet clear if there were civilian casualties on  either side There was intensive diplomatic activity in the early hours of Tuesday (13 September) following armed clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan on their border. Both sides accuse each other of provocations and there were reports of use of heavy weapons, including artillery, mortars and drones. There are also reports of casualties, although this cannot as yet be confirmed. Armenian sources said that prime minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke on the phone with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, French president Macron and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Some reports suggested that the two sides had agreed to a cease fire starting at 0900 local time Tuesday (13 September).
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News
Reports of serious incidents on the Armenia - Azerbaijan border

Reports of serious incidents on the Armenia - Azerbaijan border

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are reporting serious incidents on the border of the two countries. The two sides accuse each other of starting the fighting. There are reports of casualties but these cannot as yet be confirmed. Shooting appears to have started late on Monday evening (12 September) and continued in the early hours of Tuesday (13 September), and involved artillery and mortar exchanges and the use of other heavy weapons. The Armenian side says that the areas affected are in the direction of Goris, Jermuk and Sotyk Districts. Azerbaijan says that the areas affected are Lachin, Kelbajar and Dashkesan. Armenian media source quote European Union spokesperson Peter Strano saying that the EU is monitoring closely the situation. "The European Union calls on the sides to refrain from any actions that could exacerbate the situation and undermine the ongoing settlement process, which the European Union strongly supports and remains committed to", Strano was quoted as saying.
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Event
EU tells Georgia the door for membership is still ajar

EU tells Georgia the door for membership is still ajar

Relations between Georgia and the European Union  have been passing through a difficult patch recently. Whilst both sides profess eternal love and loyalty, tensions over ongoing domestic Georgian political processes have marred what was once a good example of a harmonious relationship. Georgian prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili is currently in Brussels where he is co-chairing, with EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, a session of the EU-Georgia Council, the body that oversees the relationship. At the heart of the current state of relations is the EU's refusal to grant candidate status to Georgia, as it did recently with Ukraine and Moldova. The Georgian government is still reeling from the snub, and the Georgian opposition continues to use this as a stick to beat the government. At a press conference yesterday both sides tried to downplay differences, and the EU made it clear that the door for Georgian EU membership, whilst not exactly wide-open, was still ajar.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Having multiple mediators is not hindering the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, yet

Opinion: Having multiple mediators is not hindering the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, yet

"The peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have not been negatively affected by current tensions between Russia and the west.   Although Moscow criticized the EU’s mediation initiatives, it has not challenged the implementation of the agreements between the sides, including those reached in the EU-mediated platform", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "Against this backdrop, the two tracks of peace talks (i.e., the EU-mediated and the Russia-mediated) find a favourable environment to run without contradicting each other. This raises hope that the recent positive developments between Baku and Yerevan will advance in the upcoming months", he says.