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
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.
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Opinion
Opinion: A resumption of the Iran nuclear deal is also good for Armenia

Opinion: A resumption of the Iran nuclear deal is also good for Armenia

Reports from Vienna suggest that Iran and the world powers are close to agreeing on restoring the Iran Nuclear Deal. For a moment it appeared that the negotiations were going to get entangled in the current Ukraine crisis, but it appears that Iran has dissuaded Russia from doing so. In this op-ed for commonspace.eu Benyamin Poghosyan says a deal would be good for neighbouring countries like Armenia who are keen to exploit trade opportunities with Iran.
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Interview
In an interview with commonspace.eu Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan describes EU-Armenia relations as "very diverse, multifaceted and dynamic"

In an interview with commonspace.eu Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan describes EU-Armenia relations as "very diverse, multifaceted and dynamic"

In November of last year Paruyr Hovhannisyan was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia with responsibility for relations with the European Union. This week he was in Brussels where he had meetings with officials from the EU institutions. Commonspace.eu spoke with the Deputy Foreign Minister on the current state of Armenia-EU relations and prospects for the future. Hovhannissian described relations as very diverse, multifaceted and dynamic.
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News
Pashinyan and Aliyev will meet in Brussels next week

Pashinyan and Aliyev will meet in Brussels next week

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and prime minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia will meet in Brussels on 6 April at the invitation of European Council president Charles Michel. The three leaders will review developments since their last meeting on 14 December 2021. In preparation of the leaders' meeting, the European Union on Wednesday (30 March) hosted a meeting of high-level officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels to advance joint efforts to find solutions to a range of issues between both countries.   A statement posted on the website of the European External Action Service said, "the meeting between Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Grigoryan, and Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev, was facilitated by EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar."
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Opinion
Opinion: The people of the South Caucasus deserve a better and more peaceful future

Opinion: The people of the South Caucasus deserve a better and more peaceful future

Ahmad Alili and Stepan Grigoryan are members of a Joint Liaison Group of Armenian and Azerbaijani experts currently finalising a report on how confidence-building measures can support lasting peace in the South Caucasus. In this jointly written paper they say that the crisis in Ukraine has reminded the people of the South Caucasus of the horrors of war. “In the South Caucasus people have suffered enough from violent conflict. They deserve a better and more peaceful future, and all of us should contribute to that objective”, they write in this opinion paper.
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Opinion
Opinion: There is still a chance Russia will be a spoiler in the Armenia-Turkey normalisation process

Opinion: There is still a chance Russia will be a spoiler in the Armenia-Turkey normalisation process

As long as Turkey maintains a fairly neutral stance on the Ukraine issue, Russia will not interfere in the current efforts to normalise Armenian-Turkish relations, says Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed. "However, if Turkey changes its policy towards Russia, and joins the anti-Russian sanctions the situation may change. In such case, this may break the Russian – Turkish understanding for the post-2020 South Caucasus. Russia may assume the role of spoiler in the Armenia – Turkey normalization process, significantly slowing down the movement towards establishing diplomatic relations and opening up borders." 
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Opinion
Opinion: Sanctions will weaken Russia's role as a transit route from Europe to China and increase the importance of the "middle corridor"

Opinion: Sanctions will weaken Russia's role as a transit route from Europe to China and increase the importance of the "middle corridor"

"The sanctions imposed on the Russian economy will have a significant impact on Russia, limiting its ability to conduct foreign trade relations, which will in turn affect its position as a main transit country in Eurasia", writes Orkhan Baghirov in this op-ed. "Within the new geo-political realities, the Middle Corridor can emerge the winner, and can become the main land route in Eurasia. It will in turn strengthen the political and economic position of the participating states, including Azerbaijan, Turkey, and the Central Asian countries, all of who aspire to become regional transportation hubs".
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Iran and Azerbaijan find common language and interests

Opinion: Iran and Azerbaijan find common language and interests

"A remarkable event occurred on March 11 in Baku when Azerbaijan and Iran, after a period of turbulence in their bilateral relations, signed a new document establishing new transport and electricity supply links connecting mainland Azerbaijan to its exclave of Nakhchivan via Iranian territory", writes Fuad Shahbazov in this op-ed. "The new transit corridor will renew the partnership dialogue between Baku and Tehran, give new economic tools to Azerbaijan in the region, and bolster trade with its natural ally Turkey. On the other hand, the potential normalization process with Armenia would be an additional asset to further regional stability, and will end Armenia’s ongoing economic isolation."