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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News
Armenia and Azerbaijan recognise each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

Armenia and Azerbaijan recognise each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

After hours of negotiations, with the mediation of European Council president Charles Michel, and French president Emanuel Macron, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan , Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, have taken a historic step towards lasting peace. Both countries have recognised each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and committed to tangible steps to establish peace and stability in the region. President Macron tweeted early this morning "Tonight, Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed their commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and the Alma Ata 1991 Declaration through which both recognize each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty." The four leaders held two long sessions of negotiations on the margins of the summit of the European Political Community which was launched at Prague Castle on Thursday afternoon (6 October). It is also understood that a number of other decisions were taken. It was agreed that the EU will deploy on the Armenian side of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border a civilian monitoring mission, for a period of two months starting from October.

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Analysis
Fear and lack of trust are an obstacle for peaceful co-existence between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh

Fear and lack of trust are an obstacle for peaceful co-existence between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh

A recent survey of women from the large community of Azerbaijanis displaced by the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh in the 1990s shows that fear and lack of trust are an obstacle for peaceful co-existence between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh. The survey is part of a report, “IDP Women: needs assessment for post conflict life, including expectations for safe return home”, prepared by Khalisa Shahverdiyeva on behalf of the Azerbaijani NGO “Women’s empowerment for sustainable development”. Following the 2020 Karabakh war a new situation has emerged which opened the prospect of the return of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis displaced by the fighting in the 1990s to their place of origin, and in many cases to live together or in close proximity with Armenian communities. The survey covered 590 internally displaced women, while 30 more women were interviewed to get a tentative picture of their needs and expectations, including their fears and concerns for peace-building and returning home.  The overwhelming majority (87.55%) of respondents highlighted the necessity of being free from danger as a decisive factor behind their decision to relocate. Consequently, the full-scale clearance of landmines supported by a guarantee of non-resumption of armed hostilities have been underscored as key factors for IDPs’ return home.  
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Opinion
Opinion: Brussels summit has given a new momentum to Armenia-Azerbaijan peace prospects

Opinion: Brussels summit has given a new momentum to Armenia-Azerbaijan peace prospects

"In the days since the Brussels summit of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on April 6, diplomatic activity around the peace process between the two countries has intensified. In contrast to the first year after the Second Karabakh War, the role of the EU in this context has grown and provides a viable alternative to the Russia-led track in the negotiations", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "Against this backdrop, as agreed in Brussels, Armenia and Azerbaijan have launched the preparatory work for a peace treaty which triggered a bilateral phone conversation between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers - the first time this happened in recent decades. These developments are not welcome by Russia-aligned revanchist forces in Armenia, separatist groups in Azerbaijani Karabakh, or, to some extent, by Russia."
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Opinion
Opinion: Quo Vadis Nagorno-Karabakh?

Opinion: Quo Vadis Nagorno-Karabakh?

Nikol Pashinyan delivered a significant speech to the Armenian parliament last week on the eve of the launch of negotiations on an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty. In this op-ed, Benyamin Poghosyan says that his comments on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh sent shock waves across society in Armenia and in Nagorno-Karabakh itself. Poghosyan argues that if Russia manages to keep its influence in the post-soviet space after the Ukraine war, it will probably come to an agreement with Azerbaijan and keep its troops in Karabakh after 2025, extending “de - jure Azerbaijan de - facto Russia” status for Nagorno Karabakh beyond 2025, and securing the presence of Armenians in Karabakh. However, if the war in Ukraine makes Russia significantly weaker in the post-soviet space, Azerbaijan may use the peace treaty with Armenia to force Russian troops out of Karabakh successfully. In that case, no international guarantees or promises of Azerbaijan will prevent the rapid exodus of Armenians from Karabakh.   
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News
Pashinyan: "The peace agenda has no alternative for us, despite all the difficulties and hardships"

Pashinyan: "The peace agenda has no alternative for us, despite all the difficulties and hardships"

In a historic speech in front of parliament, Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan on Wednesday (13 April) analysed the options in front of Armenia as it prepares to enter into negotiations with Azerbaijan on the signing of a peace agreement. In his speech Pashinyan spoke at length and in detail about the dilemmas he faced before the 44 day Karabakh war as to whether or not to make concessions and return territories to Azerbaijan. Pashinyan admitted that his mistake was not to recognise the inevitability of doing so, and to having, like previous Armenian leaders, succumbed to the Armenian narrative of the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. In his speech Pashinyan hinted that Armenia may now be ready to recognise the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan as had been requested by Azerbaijan as a precondition for starting the negotiations on a peace treaty, saying that de jure it had done so in 1992. EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, in a tweet described the speech of the Armenian prime minister as "forward looking". He added that "many challenges remain on the road to a comprehensive settlement but it is important to move forward". Klaar added that Armenia has the EU's support in the search for just peace.
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Opinion
Opinion: A game-changing Aliyev-Pashinyan-Michel summit in Brussels

Opinion: A game-changing Aliyev-Pashinyan-Michel summit in Brussels

This week's summit of Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, mediated by European Council president Charles Michel, marks a growing mediating role for the EU, something which is welcomed by both Baku and Yerevan, writes Vasif Husseynov in this op-ed. There are now two separate tracks in the peace process, one led by Brussels, the other by Moscow. So far they are complimentary, and should remain so, he argues
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News
Armenian and Azerbaijani expert group proposes 30 confidence-building measures to support regional peace

Armenian and Azerbaijani expert group proposes 30 confidence-building measures to support regional peace

The Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani Liaison Group on confidence-building measures in support of lasting peace in the South Caucasus has published its report in which it proposes 30 short, medium and long term measures in support of ongoing efforts to establish peace in the region. In their report, "The South Caucasus from war to peace: 30 measures between now and 2030"  the members of the Liaison Group say that Armenia and Azerbaijan and Armenians and Azerbaijanis, need to build the future based on mutual trust and confidence.
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News
The process for negotiating a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan has started

The process for negotiating a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan has started

After four hours of intensive discussions in Brussels on Wednesday evening  (6 April), European Council president Charles Michel announced that the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan had agreed to instruct their foreign ministers to start work on the preparation of a peace treaty, which would address all necessary issues. "The process has started. It started tonight", president Michel told journalists. Michel earlier met separately with Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and with Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev before the three convened for their meeting. Michel described the meeting as "excellent and very productive".
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News
Brussels hosts important discussions between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan

Brussels hosts important discussions between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, will today meet in Brussels together with the president of the European Council, Charles Michel. The trilateral meeting is taking place at a critical moment for the future of the South Caucasus as Armenia and Azerbaijan seek ways to build peace between them following the 44 Day Karabakh war in the autumn of 2020. It is taking place in the shadow of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has caused the bbiggest crisis on the European continent since World War II. Michel hosted a previous meeting with Aliyev and Pashinyan on 14 December 2021, and a new format appears to be emerging for contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Observers are hesitant to call it a peace process yet, but the importance of the talks is considerable. This was highlighted yesterday when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on the phone with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to stress the US support for the talks. In Brussels Michel is expected to urge Pashinyan and Aliyev, with who he has built a strong personal rapport over the last year, to work together to de-escalate tensions on the border, move forward with the process of agreeing the terms of a peace agreement, and implement confidence and security building measures to support their work and help build trust at the political, military and societal levels.