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: The anatomy of the current protests in Armenia

Opinion: The anatomy of the current protests in Armenia

Armenia is still absorbing the implications of the protests that overwhelmed Yerevan on May 9. On April 19, 2024, the Armenian and Azerbaijani border delimitation and demarcation commissions signed the protocol on the delimitation and demarcation process in the Tavush region of Armenia. That agreement granted Azerbaijan control over a patch of territory along that border that had been officially part of Soviet Azerbaijan but controlled by Armenia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
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Opinion
Opinion: Political Uncertainty in Armenia Should Not Disrupt Azerbaijan Normalisation

Opinion: Political Uncertainty in Armenia Should Not Disrupt Azerbaijan Normalisation

The Armenian opposition had up to now failed to come up with a leader who could unite it in its quest to overthrow Nikol Pashinyan. "That could change if a new political force led by a charismatic and populist alternative were to emerge. This month, the opposition hoped they have  such an alternative in Bagrat Galstanyan, Archbishop of the Tavush Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, write Onnik Krikorian for commonspace.eu. Leading protests against the recent delimitation and demarcation of the Gazakh-Tavush section of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, the cleric managed to rally up to 30,000 people in Yerevan’s Republic Square earlier this month, the largest public gathering since Pashinyan’s own in 2018.

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Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Does Russia lose Armenia to France?

Opinion: Does Russia lose Armenia to France?

In an interview with France24 during his February 2024 visit to Paris, Nikol Pashinyan highlighted Azerbaijan's perception of Armenia as "Western Azerbaijan" and expressed concerns about Azerbaijan's preparations for a new war, writes Dr. Anzhela Mnatsakanyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "This interview marked a significant departure as Pashinyan openly scrutinized Russia's policies towards Armenia and hinted at the possibility of a new war. The timing of this interview, a few days before Azerbaijan presented a re-edited version of the so-called "Peace treaty," suggested that the "peace" offered by Azerbaijan is more about the capitulation of Armenia. This interview was a kind of “call for help” from Pashinyan to Western countries on the eve of a possible new war."
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Opinion
Opinion: German diplomacy on the move in the South Caucasus

Opinion: German diplomacy on the move in the South Caucasus

"The EU cannot afford to overlook the strategic importance of the South Caucasus", writes Simona Scotti in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "If on the one hand over the past two years significant steps have been undertaken, including the deployment of the EUMA in Armenia and the Brussels track of negotiations led by Charles Michel, on the other hand some more concrete actions, with a well-defined and consistent strategy, would be appreciated. The lack of a clear and coherent vision has destabilized Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have often questioned to which extent they can really trust a Western involvement in the region."
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Opinion
Opinion: Clarity, Consistent Rhetoric, and Multitrack Diplomacy Still Lacking in Armenia-Azerbaijan Normalisation Talks

Opinion: Clarity, Consistent Rhetoric, and Multitrack Diplomacy Still Lacking in Armenia-Azerbaijan Normalisation Talks

It was touch and go for a while. Even a day before this year’s prestigious Munich Security Conference it was unclear whether both Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev would attend. In the past, Armenian leaders have more often shunned the event and even despite December’s much-lauded bilateral COP-29 joint statement made bilaterally by Baku and Yerevan, the war of words between the sides unfortunately continues.
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News
Taking forward the work on landmine action advocacy in the South Caucasus - report issued after consultation process

Taking forward the work on landmine action advocacy in the South Caucasus - report issued after consultation process

LINKS Europe has just published a report on the future of landmine action advocacy in the South Caucasus based on a consultation process with stakeholders between June 2023 and February 2024. The report focuses on the regional campaign "Landmine Free South Caucasus", which was implemented from October 2018 to December 2023. A formal consultation process was held from 15 January to 15 February 2024, through an open call to which anyone could reply. In the course of the consultation process LINKS Europe held 22 in-person meetings, 12 online meetings. and received written submissions from several partners. The report makes 12 recommendations on how the work can be organised in the future.
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Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers meet in Berlin as German diplomacy emerges out of the shadows to save the day for Europe

Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers meet in Berlin as German diplomacy emerges out of the shadows to save the day for Europe

German diplomacy has been in the South Caucasus from the day after the three countries declared their independence in 1991. Germany was the first country to set up embassies in the region, but generally German diplomacy has been low-key – preferring to let others, namely France, and later the EU, to do the heavy lifting when it came to issues like supporting the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process. This has changed recently. After the untimely intervention of French president Emanuel Macron in the process that was led by EU Council president Charles Michel in 2022, and given Azerbaijan’s refusal to negotiate in this framework because of what it claims is French bias towards Armenia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in 2022 reluctantly persuaded to engage with the process directly, and join the Macron-Michel tandem. Nothing at first seemed to have come out of that, and German diplomacy got overshadowed by some missteps in Paris and Brussels, not to mention some awkward phrases of its own foreign minister when she visited the region last year. But it seems that behind the scenes, German diplomacy persisted. Earlier in February Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, travelled to Munich to attend the annual security conference, and on the margins had a long-awaited meeting, bilaterally and later with Chancellor Scholz. At the meeting concrete decisions were taken on follow-up, and thanks to the usual German efficiency the foreign ministers of the two countries were in Berlin on Wednesday (28 February) for detailed talks about the peace treaty. Most of the discussions were in the bilateral format, but there was also a meeting of the Ministers with their German counterpart. The talks continue today. It is the latest episode in a long saga, but not an insignificant one. Germany is a political and economic heavyweight, and its direct involvement may just be what is needed to get the ongoing negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan across the line. At a time when other elements of European diplomacy appear not to be so effective the German intervention is also seen as saving the day for Europe, that needs to remain present and visible in the region.