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Conflict and Peace

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

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News
First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

In the historic settings of Prague Castle, leaders from across Europe gathered on Thursday for the first summit of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom With the dramatic consequences of Russia’s aggression war, EU leaders agreed during the European Council meeting in June 2022 to launch the European Political Community with the aim of bringing together countries on the European continent. The ambition is to bring leaders together on the European continent and to foster their cooperation on issues of common interest, revolving around peace and security, the economic situation, energy and climate, and migration and mobility. No formal written outcome of the European Political Community is envisaged. After the traditional family photo, the meeting kicked off with a round table discussion on peace and security in Europe. This story will be updated throughout the day.

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Event
Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani expert group on confidence-building measures agrees to intensify efforts

Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani expert group on confidence-building measures agrees to intensify efforts

The Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani Liaison Group on Confidence-building measures in support of lasting peace in the South Caucasus (JOLIG), made up of 11 Armenian and Azerbaijani independent experts and opinion-shapers, met in Kachreti, Georgia on 27 and 28 June 2022 to review its activity, and agree on a strategy as to how its work on confidence-building measures can contribute to efforts aimed at bringing lasting peace in the South Caucasus. Participants discussed ongoing efforts aimed at establishing the right conditions for the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan being undertaken by the governments of the two countries with the support of international players. They called on the leadership of the two countries to remain focused and committed to this mission. The group emphasised its belief that confidence-building measures are necessary to be implemented in the current state of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, and were indispensable as the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan seek peaceful solutions to long lasting disputes and controversies between them.
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Opinion
Opinion: Azerbaijan’s vision for Karabakh’s future does not envision autonomy or secession

Opinion: Azerbaijan’s vision for Karabakh’s future does not envision autonomy or secession

“Azerbaijan does not intend to grant its Karabakh region any special status that is different from other regions of the country, but it will ensure the provision of cultural rights and  guarantee the security of its inhabitants as is provided throughout the rest  of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, says Vasif Husseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu He says that Baku and Yerevan can agree on the specific arrangements under which these are provided. “The temporary deployment of international observer missions of the United Nations, the OSCE or the European Union can be also considered to ensure stable and peaceful transition of the region under the control of Azerbaijani government.“
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News
Yemen ceasefire holds amid report of talks between Saudis and Houthis and despite ongoing problems in Taiz

Yemen ceasefire holds amid report of talks between Saudis and Houthis and despite ongoing problems in Taiz

Saudi Arabia and Yemen's Houthi movement (also known as Ansar Allah) have resumed direct talks to discuss security along the kingdom's border and future relations under any peace deal with Yemen, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, according to a report by Reuters news agency. The virtual talks between senior Saudi and Houthi officials were facilitated by Oman, both sources said, with one adding that there were also plans for a face-to-face meeting in Muscat if there is enough progress. Meanwhile, speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Yemen, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg welcomed the fact that the truce between the Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government has held, but called for action to open road communications with the city of Taiz.
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Opinion
Opinion: Autonomy within Azerbaijan is not a solution for the future of Karabakh

Opinion: Autonomy within Azerbaijan is not a solution for the future of Karabakh

As Armenia and Azerbaijan seek ways in which they can normalise relations between them, the discussion on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh, and particularly of the Armenian population living there, is also gathering pace. On 8 June commonspace.eu published an op-ed by Kamal Makili-Aliyev suggesting autonomy may be one way of moving relations forward. In this counter opinion, Vahagn Avedian disagrees and says that governance problems in Azerbaijan make the prospect of an autonomy within that country unattractive for the Armenian population of Karabakh. He argues that "the only viable path forward is still what the Madrid Principles envisioned, namely granting the Karabakh population the right to determine their future."
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Commentary
Commentary: The tangled tale of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations

Commentary: The tangled tale of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations

After the violence of the early 1990s the conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis settled down for nearly three decades of uneasy truce, tempered with low-intensity violence, and the occasional outburst of more serious fighting, and accompanied by a flawed peace process that failed to bring peace, and in the end could not prevent war. The 44-day Karabakh War in autumn 2020 changed the reality on the ground and yesterday’s winners became losers and vice versa. The Russians appeared to emerge from the 44-day war the sole arbiters to oversee the new situation, but since no one really wanted this – except the Russians themselves – an alternative has unexpectedly emerged, with the EU playing an increasingly important role as mediator and facilitator, working with the sides towards a comprehensive peace. Whilst the war decided some issues, many details remain unresolved, and as Armenia and Azerbaijan tiptoe into a peace process these issues are coming to the fore. Over the course of the last few days, commonspace.eu ran three op-eds dealing with some of these issues written by Benyamin Poghosyan who addressed the issue of peacekeeping, Kamal Makili-Aliyev who wrote about autonomy status as a way of resolving outstanding issues, and Vasif Husseynov who dealt with the geo-strategic context of the peace process. They touched very important issues at the heart of the current debates. Armenian-Azerbaijani relations are a tangled tale, burdened with the baggage of history, traumatised by the blood of thousands who died in the conflict over decades, and poisoned by toxic propaganda that keeps coming out from both sides despite the diplomatic moves towards peace. Unpacking all this will take time. Building enough trust and confidence to move forward will take longer. But the journey has started, and despite all the spoilers, even the end is now in sight.
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Opinion
Opinion: The Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process should be pursued "through compatible mediation between the EU and Russia"

Opinion: The Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process should be pursued "through compatible mediation between the EU and Russia"

Baku perceives certain recent actions by the Russian media and by prominent Russian politicians as a provocation, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. and this may be happening as a result of an increased EU engagement with resolving the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. One option is "to pursue the peace process in a mode of compatible mediation of the EU and Russia. The fact that the second meeting of the border delimitation and demarcation took place in Moscow before the upcoming one in Brussels indicates such an effort by the sides. This can make the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process a unique case where the West and Russia stand on the same page and encourage the two sides to find a common language in the conflicts elsewhere."