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,

Briefing: intensive diplomatic efforts around the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process
Intense diplomatic efforts over the last month are a good reflection of a sustained determination on the part of Armenia and Azerbaijan to bring their decades-old conflict to an end, and sign a peace agreement, writes Meetings between president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and prime minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia were held in Brussels on 15 May, with the mediation of EU Council president Charles Michel. The three leaders met again on 1 June in Chisinau, this time also with the participation of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Aliyev and Pashinyan met, together with president Putin of Russia, in Moscow on 25 May. And on 4 June the leaders of both Armenia and Azerbaijan were in Ankara for the inauguration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s new term in office, where they also met informally. The next formal meeting is now set to be held in July in Brussels. A lot is also going on behind the scenes with European and American envoys travelling in the region.
patrickn97 Fri, 06/09/2023 - 11:21 Opinion: we may still be far from an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty

Current circumstances in the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process raise a number of questions, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for "Above all, it is unclear whether Baku and Yerevan will be able to stand resilient against all this pressure from the Russian side.

patrickn97 Fri, 06/09/2023 - 09:57

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Azimuth Airlines to operate Russia-Georgia flights from 17 May
The Georgian Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced yesterday (15 May) that Azimuth Airlines will start operating flights between Moscow and Tbilisi from 17 May. On Wednesday (10 May), Russian President Vladimir Putin reversed a 2019 ban on Russian airlines flying to Georgia, prompting many Georgian politicians to insist that no Russian airlines under international sanctions would be permitted to operate flights to Georgia. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that his government's "unequivocal" position was that "flights with sanctioned aircraft will not be carried out. This will happen only with planes and companies not under sanctions", he said. The GCAA statement from yesterday reads: "The Civil Aviation Agency of Georgia issued the necessary permission to the airline today, on May 15. As of today, Azimuth Airlines is not on the European Union blacklist. In accordance with the flight application submitted by the airline to the Civil Aviation Agency, flights on the Moscow-Tbilisi-Moscow airline will be performed from May 17 of this year, seven times a week."
patrickn97 Tue, 05/16/2023 - 08:27
Georgia insists that no sanctioned Russian airlines will enter its airspace

A number of Georgian officials have insisted that no sanctioned Russian airlines will be allowed to enter its airspace. This follows news last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin reversed a 2019 ban on Russian airlines flying to Georgia on Wednesday (10 May).

patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 09:40
Kazakhstan's oil exports to Azerbaijan increase by 75% in April

On Wednesday (10 May), KazTransOil, the national oil transporter of Kazakhstan, announced a substantial increase in oil exports via Aktau Port to Baku, Azerbaijan.

According to the company's press service, the export volume surged by 75% in April, reaching 152,400 tons, compared to the previous month's 87,000 tons. In April, KazTransOil also shipped 160,200 tons of oil from Aktau Port to Makhachkala Port, in Russia.

The overall volume of Kazakh oil transported for export from Aktau Port increased by 24%, totaling 600,500 tons.

patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 07:55
Editor's choice
Press statement issued at the end of the meeting of the core JOLIG team in Tbilisi on 12 May 2023

Press statement issued at the end of the meeting of the core JOLIG team in Tbilisi on 12 May 2023

The core team of the Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani Liaison Group on confidence-building measures in support of lasting peace in the South Caucasus (JOLIG) met in Tbilisi on Friday 12 May 2023 to discuss ongoing regional processes and plan its work for the rest of the year. The Group reviewed the current state of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and the process to normalise them. It welcomed the resumption of face to face negotiations between the two countries held at Foreign Minister level in Washington DC in the first week of May and hoped that the process will continue and be brought to a successful conclusion. It looked forward to the next meeting of the leaders of the two countries in Brussels on 14 May and subsequently, and the planned meetings in Chisinau in June and in Granada in October, and also noted that a meeting of the foreign ministers was also planned to be held in Moscow later this month. The Group noted that this intensive diplomatic activity is necessary and instrumental for the early and successful completion of the negotiations.
Editor's choice
Editorial: Armenia-Azerbaijan talks are down to the nitty-gritty

Editorial: Armenia-Azerbaijan talks are down to the nitty-gritty

After months of diplomacy by e-mail, Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Washington DC in the first week of May for negotiations led by the foreign ministers of the two countries, with the United States providing facilitation and support, writes in this editorial. The presence of US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at the opening of the talks, raised expectations that the talks may be conclusive. They were not, but enough progress was made for Blinken to return for the closing session, telling his guests that the US appreciated that the last bit of any negotiating process was going to be the most difficult. "The temptation to draw out the ongoing situation for many more months, with the hope that time is on their side, has big risks. Unplanned incidents still have the capacity to escalate quickly and spiral out of control, feeding on the existing level of mistrust. The violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan reported this morning (11 May) is a case in point. So in many ways this is the moment of truth, even if some would argue that we have been here before. Somehow however this time it feels different, even if the nitty-gritty problems have not gone away," they add.
Opinion: religious diplomacy should be factored into the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process

"Religion has taken a place in the narratives that depict two warring sides locked into perpetual battle, and the international media nearly always frames the conflict as one between “Christian Armenia” and “Muslim Azerbaijan”, implanting that image in the minds of readers," writes Onnik James Krikorian in this op-ed for

patrickn97 Thu, 05/11/2023 - 08:07
Russia lifts ban on flights to Georgia, removes visa restrictions for Georgian citizens
On Wednesday (10 May), Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two separate decrees lifting a ban on flights to Georgia, and abolishing visas for Georgian citizens. From 15 March, Georgian nationals will be allowed to enter Russia without visas for up to 90 days. Lifting the ban on flights reverses a 2019 decision in which the Kremlin banned air traffic with Georgia following a wave of anti-Kremlin protests there. After President Putin signed the decrees, the Russian Foreign Ministry also released a statement reversing its 2019 advice against Russian citizens travelling to Georgia. The statement added that Putin's decrees "are in line with our principled approach of consistently facilitating the conditions for communication and contacts between the citizens of Russia and Georgia, despite the absence of diplomatic relations". Later, Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti reported that the Georgian Deputy Minister of the Economy and Sustainable Development Mariam Kvrivishvili said that Georgia would issue permits for direct flights to non-sanctioned airlines, before adding that authorities were yet to receive any such requests from Russian airlines.
patrickn97 Wed, 05/10/2023 - 16:13