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Conflict and Peace

Stories related to violent conflicts, diplomatic tensions, and conflict prevention, mediation and resolution.

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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Editor's choice
News
Charles Michel meets Zelensky in Kyiv and visits Borodyanka

Charles Michel meets Zelensky in Kyiv and visits Borodyanka

European Council president Charles Michel, who is currently paying a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, met on Wednesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.  Later, Zelensky tweeted: "My valuable friend Charles Michel is in Kyiv today. Sanctions against Russia, defense and financial support for our country, and responses to a survey on compliance with EU criteria have been discussed. I thank for the meaningful meeting and solidarity with the Ukrainian people," said Zelensky. During the course of the day, Michel also visited the town Borodyanka. He said that the situation in the town was the same as in Bucha and many other Ukrainian towns. "History will not forget the war crimes that have been committed here. There can be no peace without justice," he said.
Editor's choice
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
Germany ponders its future role in the Sahel

Germany ponders its future role in the Sahel

Germany’s minister of foreign affairs Annalena Baerbock is visiting the Sahel ahead of a government decision on extending the Bundeswehr’s mission in the region. Amidst renewed political instability and terrorist activity in the Sahel, Baerbock must decide whether German troops will continue their commitment to MINUSMA - the UN peacekeeping mission in the region – and the EUTM, the European Union Training Mission. 300 German soldiers participate in the EUTM mission in Mali, while approximately 1000 soldiers are stationed there as part of MINUSMA. However, beyond the terrorist threat in the region, which has already caused 2.1 million internal displacements in the past 8 years according to the UN, it is the war in Ukraine which could have the most direct repercussions in West Africa. Ukraine, the world’s fifth-largest exporter of wheat, is currently incapable of delivering wheat flour to the Sahel region, causing food insecurity for millions of people.
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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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Commentary
Europeans must recognise the challenges ahead, and prepare for them

Europeans must recognise the challenges ahead, and prepare for them

The international community, and particularly the European Union -  because this remains first and foremost a European problem - has to prepare itself for three huge challenges ahead: rebuilding and embracing Ukraine; rebuilding European security in a way that it can deal with a Russian threat in the future; and determining how to deal with a wounded and weakened Russia which in the short term can be even more dangerous. All European, from the leaders at the top, to the citizens at the grass roots must accept the truth as it is: there is now a new reality which requires a different response; there is a huge cost, which all Europeans will be expected to pay; there are risks and dangers that we all thought were buried in the past, which now need to be prepared for. Europe has the strength and the resilience, the resources and the capacities, necessary to deal with these challenges as long as the enormity of the current and emerging situation is well understood, and properly addressed.
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News
Intra-Yemeni consultations conclude kindling a hope for peace to country

Intra-Yemeni consultations conclude kindling a hope for peace to country

After years of intense fighting, Yemeni activists, politicians and key figures concluded a week-long consultation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia aimed at discussing ways to end the conflict. The consultations witnessed politicians from across the spectrum discussing for the first time since 2015, ways  forward for peace in Yemen. In the meantime, UN Envoy Hans Grundeberg met with a delegation of Houthis in Muscat where both sides discussed the need to re-open Sana’a airport as soon as possible and maintain the current ceasefire. It is also expected that Grundberg will visit Sana’a soon for the first time since his appointment.