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.

Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Historic developments are taking place in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, but the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time

Opinion: Historic developments are taking place in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, but the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time

On May 22, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Brussels with the mediation of European Council President Charles Michel to discuss the peace process. It is worth noting that since the beginning of this year, the representatives of the two South Caucasian republics have met exclusively via the mediation of the EU, while the only Russia-mediated meeting – that of the foreign ministers held on May 12 –  took place on the sidelines of another major event and brought about no novelty in the negotiations. The Brussels summit, however, delivered some very important outcomes which, if implemented, will constitute a critical breakthrough in the peace process. The quick implementation of some of the issues agreed by president Aliyev and prime minister Pashinyan at their meeting in Brussels, can be described as truly historic, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "But the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time, and necessitate an agreement not only between Baku and Yerevan, but also between Moscow and Brussels", he adds.
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News
South Ossetia gets a young leader, but his message is old and rusty

South Ossetia gets a young leader, but his message is old and rusty

It was a piece of surreal political theatre of the sort that have become increasingly popular with the choreographers of the Kremlin. On Tuesday (24 May ) the liliputian self-declared Republic of South Ossetia, a de facto Russian protectorate, got a new president. Alan Gagloev was sworn-in at the theatre on Tskhinvali's main square. The choreography was perfect: a military guard of honour, a swearing in ceremony, and delegations of "foreign countries", except they represented other self declared entities such as Abkhazia, Lugansk, Donetsk, Nagorno-Karabakh etc. Most of the world still recognise South Ossetia as part of Georgia. Gagloev came to power unexpectedly, having defeated the incumbent Anatoly Bibilov in elections on May 17. The number of people who voted for him was 16,134 (representing 56.09% of the electorate). Bibilov left his successor a time bomb, due to go off on 17 July, in the form of a referendum calling for South Ossetia's unification with Russia. The Kremlin does not seem to be impressed. Gagloev made no reference to the referendum in his inauguration speech today, but he did heap praise on Russia and promised eternal friendship.

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Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: The debate about the “Corridors War” is not based on reality

Commentary: The debate about the “Corridors War” is not based on reality

The "corridors war", currently being hotly debated among experts, pundits, and policy-making circles in the South Caucasus, is largely based on wishful thinking rather than hard facts. In reality the options are rather limited, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed.
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Event
EU supports all actors working for a South Caucasus free of landmines

EU supports all actors working for a South Caucasus free of landmines

The EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, told a regional conference in Tbilisi on Friday (5 November) that the objective of a landmine free South Caucasus is within sight. "This will require strong commitment by the local governments and will be achieved quicker by a regional approach which we very much support. You can be assured that The EU will stand behind this and support all the actors In achieving what we all want South Caucasus free of mines".
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Event
Armenia's landmine problem discussed at Yerevan event

Armenia's landmine problem discussed at Yerevan event

The keynote speaker in the conference “Mobilising national and international efforts to make Armenia free of landmines and unexploded ordnance” was the newly appointed Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Demining and Expertise, Mr Vaghinak Sargsyan, who gave a detailed report of the ongoing efforts of the Centre to clear Armenia of landmines and other unexploded ordnance. Mr Sargsyan said that the role of the Centre was also educational and CHDE was working to increase awareness of the problem of landmines not only in affected communities, but also nation-wide. Mr Sargsyan said that CHDE was open to work in co-operation with international partners for this objective.
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Commentary
Georgia Elections: Beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Georgia Elections: Beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Georgians are voting today in the second round of local elections to choose Mayors and local Councillors in a number of key cities where the first round of voting, held on 2 October was inconclusive. The total number of voters eligible to vote in the second round is 2,088,722 - around half of which in the capital, Tbilisi. Georgians appear to be tired of the non stop polorised politics that has dominated public life in recent years, but it is unlikely that the elections will bring a closure to the huge divide within Georgian society.
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News
Thousands rally in Tbilisi in support of governing party ahead of key elections

Thousands rally in Tbilisi in support of governing party ahead of key elections

The political situation in Georgia had been building up to a crisis for some time, and the situation became more tense following the return to the country of former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who had earlier been sentenced to several terms of imprisonment for crimes committed during his term of office. Saakashvili was duly arrested and has since gone on hunger strike.
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Opinion
Opinion: In the South Caucasus there is a new hope for peace

Opinion: In the South Caucasus there is a new hope for peace

For the first time in decades, in the South Caucasus there is a new hope for peace. In separate articles for our sister website, Karabakhspace.eu, Benyamin Poghosyan and Vasif Husseynov discuss recent developments, including the emerging role of Georgia as a trusted intermediary.
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News
Thousands rally in Tbilisi calling for the release of former president Saakashvili

Thousands rally in Tbilisi calling for the release of former president Saakashvili

Saakashvili remains popular with some segments of Georgian society, particularly in Western Georgia. Thousands travelled to Tbilisi to participate in the rally. However many Georgians have negative memories of Saakashvili's presidency and do not want to see his return to public office.
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News
Baku conference told that the return of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis displaced by the first Karabakh War was hindered by the huge problem of landmines

Baku conference told that the return of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis displaced by the first Karabakh War was hindered by the huge problem of landmines

The conference ‘Overcoming the challenges of landmines in Azerbaijan’s quest for peace, development and reconstruction’ was held on Tuesday, 12 October 2021. The event was organised in the framework of the 2021 campaign, ‘Landmine Free South Caucasus’ by LINKS Europe, in association with the Caucasus Policy Analysis Centre, with the participation of ANAMA, the State Demining Agency of Azerbaijan.
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News
Georgia pushes forward with its “Peaceful Neighbourhood Initiative”

Georgia pushes forward with its “Peaceful Neighbourhood Initiative”

After his visit to Baku at the end of September, Georgian prime minister Irakli Garibashvili this weekend paid a working visit to Armenia for meetings with his Armenian counterpart Nikol Pashinyan. According to the website of the Georgian Government, the initiative was at the centre of the discussions in Yerevan between the two prime ministers. Garibashvili reaffirmed the readiness of Georgia to continue its active facilitation role in order to ensure peace, stability and the gradual transformation of the South Caucasus into a region of new opportunities, development and peace.