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.

Terrorist attack against Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran
At least one security officer was killed and two others injured when a man armed with a Kalashnikov attacked the Azerbaijani Embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran. The incident happened on Friday morning as the man tried to force his way into the diplomatic mission. Azerbaijan has strongly condemned the attack and criticised Tehran for not protecting its diplomatic mission. The Iranian Ambassador was summoned to the Azerbaijani foreign ministry in Baku and told that the attack was the consequence of a systematic anti-Azerbaijan campaign. There have been outbursts of anti-Azerbaijani sentiment in some sections of the Iranian media which appear to have the blessing of at least some elements of the Iranian regime. There has been widespread condemnation of the attack by the international community, including the EU, the US and many European and Middle East governments.  commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that the attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran is the latest in a series of unfriendly or hostile acts towards Azerbaijan originating from Tehran that seem to be encouraged by at least some elements of the Iranian Shia clerical regime.
dennis2020 Fri, 01/27/2023 - 13:27 Deployment of the EU monitoring mission to Armenia: A view from Azerbaijan

On January 23, the Council of the European Union (EU) agreed to establish a civilian monitoring mission in Armenia’s border areas in order to “ensure an environment conducive to normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan”. The deployment of the mission has caused mixed reactions in the two countries and frustrated Russia, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu.

patrickn97 Thu, 01/26/2023 - 14:53

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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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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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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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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.
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.
dennis2020 Wed, 09/07/2022 - 09:41
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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.
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Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to start working on the text of a peace treaty

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to start working on the text of a peace treaty

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, on Wednesday (31 August) hosted in Brussels the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and president Ilham Aliyev, for talks on the future of relations between the two countries and peace in the South Caucasus. Michel said that at the meeting it was agreed "to step up substantive work to advance on the peace treaty governing inter-state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and tasked the Foreign Ministers to meet within one month to work on draft texts." President Michel underlined that "it is important to take the population along on both sides and prepare them for a long-term sustainable peace. Public messaging is critical in this regard – in a sensitive situation like this every word spoken in public is obviously listened to by the other side and weighed. The EU is ready to further step up its support towards a long-term sustainable peace. The EU will also continue to push for the advancement of economic development for the benefit of both countries and their populations." The three leaders agreed to meet again in this format by the end of November.
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Michel hosts Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels tomorrow

Michel hosts Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels tomorrow

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, will host the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels tomorrow Wednesday (30 August) as part of efforts to help the two countries achieve lasting peace. This will be the third time Charles Michel will be welcoming President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia in less than nine months. The meeting is scheduled to start at 13.00 Brussels time. Ahead of tomorrow's meeting, Michel on Tuesday (30 August) held separate telephone conversations with the two leaders. Sources told commonspace.eu that last minute details regarding the meeting tomorrow were discussed to ensure the success of the meeting. Michel also touched on issues related with the bilateral agenda between the EU and the two countries.
Making Stepanakert safe from unexploded remnants of war

In the aftermath of the 2020 war Second Karabakh War many residents of Nagorno-Karabakh returned to find their homes badly damaged by artillery shells, unexploded cluster munitions, and debris from other weaponry scattered across their yards.

Stepanakert, the main Armenian-populated centre in Nagorno-Karabakh was one of the most affected areas. According to demining agencies working in the territory, such as HALO Trust, more than 20% of the city was contaminated with unexploded items left over from the war. They tell their story:

Maximiliaan va… Fri, 08/26/2022 - 16:54