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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Opinion: The moment of the Minsk Group has passed
Since 1992, the OSCE Minsk Group had the mandate to facilitate a resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Their failure to do so and the fact that there is no agreement between the parties in the conflict on its future role in the changed situation after the 2020 war leaves this process without any legitimacy, argues Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "The calls of the French and American representatives to give a second chance to the Minsk Group are perceived in Baku as more of geopolitical nature rather than as an honest attempt to contribute to the peace efforts", he argues.
dennis2020 Mon, 08/08/2022 - 08:09
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News
War anniversary reminds the world that Russia has seriously violated Georgia's territorial integrity

War anniversary reminds the world that Russia has seriously violated Georgia's territorial integrity

Georgia on Sunday marked the 14th anniversary of the start of the 2008 Georgia-Russia War which lasted five days.  2,232 Georgians were killed or injured during the fighting, of whom 1,045 persons were military personnel. After the August war, Russia recognized the independence of two regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Only a handful of other countries followed, and most nations continue to strongly support Georgia's territorial integrity. The European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and a number of other countries issued statements on the occasion of the anniversary, once more reiterating their support for Georgia's territorial integrity. In a statement, the Georgian Foreign Ministry called on the Russian Federation "to cease illegal and provocative steps against Georgia, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, to fulfil the obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia and to reverse the illegal decision on recognition of the so-called independence of the occupied regions."
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Commentary
Commentary: War or Peace in the South Caucasus?

Commentary: War or Peace in the South Caucasus?

In their report “The South Caucasus from war to peace: 30 measures between now and 2030”, published last April, Armenian and Azerbaijani experts made a stark statement: “All the ingredients for peace exist in the South Caucasus. All the ingredients for war exist too. What is in front of us is a choice.” Never have these words sounded so pertinent as in these last days when in Armenia and in Azerbaijan the sounds of war and the sounds of peace competed with each other, with little sign of compromise. Yet neither war, nor peace, is inevitable. It is a choice, and one that both sides can neither make lightly nor take for granted. This week has once more shown that Armenia and Azerbaijan, and Armenians and Azerbaijanis, face a choice between war and peace. The death and injury of yet more Armenians and Azerbaijanis should focus minds, and increase mutual determination to work for lasting peace and to avoid any steps that can bring another war nearer.
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Opinion
Opinion: This unique and historic chance for peace should not be squandered

Opinion: This unique and historic chance for peace should not be squandered

"The negotiations between Baku and Yerevan  appear to be moving on the right path", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "We can now expect that the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in the near future, as envisioned by the agreements at the Brussels summit on May 22, he writes. "For peace and security in the South Caucasus, it is vitally important that this positive atmosphere is preserved, the commitments undertaken in the trilateral statement are fulfilled, and that this unique historic chance for peace and reconciliation between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not taken for granted."
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News
EU and Azerbaijan seal strategic partnership agreement on energy security

EU and Azerbaijan seal strategic partnership agreement on energy security

After years of uncertainty in EU-Azerbaijan relations, co-operation between the two sides has finally been put on a strategic footing with the signing in Baku on Monday (19 July) of a new "Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Partnership in the Field of Energy". The signing of the MOU comes at a crucial time when Europe is frantically trying to replace gas and other energy supplies from Russia, in the aftermath of the latter's invasion of Ukraine. A report on the website of the European Commission said that the memorandum signed by the two Presidents today includes a commitment to double the capacity of the Southern Gas Corridor to deliver at least 20 billion cubic metres to the EU annually by 2027. This will contribute to the diversification objectives in the REPowerEU Plan and help Europe to end its dependency on Russian gas. Based on the strengthened energy cooperation, Azerbaijan is already now increasing deliveries of natural gas to the EU, from 8.1 billion cubic metres in 2021 to an expected 12 bcm in 2022. commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that "EU-Azerbaijan relations need to continue to be build, based on mutual respect and recognising the importance of people to people contacts for the future of the relationship. The EU on its part, especially now that the stakes are higher, needs to put more efforts in supporting lasting peace in the region. The energy agenda has its specific importance and aspects, but it cannot be seen in isolation of wider issues."
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Opinion
Opinion: Realism should be the basis for the Armenia-Turkey normalisation process

Opinion: Realism should be the basis for the Armenia-Turkey normalisation process

"There should be realistic expectations of what can result from ongoing discussions on the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Turkey", writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. The potential normalisation of relations – establishment of diplomatic relations, and opening of land borders – does not mean that Armenia and Turkey will not have disagreements, contradictions, or even will not act against each other in particular circumstances. "Given the current situation in the South Caucasus, the region is far away from peace, and no one should have hopes that Armenia – Turkey normalization will solve conflicts and bring an era of peace to the region. However, in the current situation, even a contribution to regional stability is too significant an opportunity to miss."    
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Opinion
Opinion: Azerbaijan boosts ties with Central Asia as region adjusts to Ukraine crisis

Opinion: Azerbaijan boosts ties with Central Asia as region adjusts to Ukraine crisis

The fall-out from the Russian invasion of Ukraine has impacted all countries across the region. Azerbaijan and the Central Asian republics have stepped up their co-operation using multiple formats. "Amid the present security challenges in the region it is high time for Azerbaijan and the Central Asian countries to deepen bonds and ensure their security and prosperity, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu