As peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan continue, Baku has opened a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor, the sole road connecting Armenia to the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, raising fears of a new surge in fighting. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts discuss the risks.
PM Pashinyan expressed hope for peace deal with Azerbaijan in coming months amid flurry of international diplomacy; Yerevan ratified Rome Statute.
Various international actors stepped up efforts for peace deal with Azerbaijan. Following Azerbaijan’s one-day military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh (see Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan)), EU prepared for 5 Oct talks between PM Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Granada, Spain, moderated by French, German and EU leaders; Baku day before announced Aliyev would not attend, citing French bias toward Armenia and France’s refusal to include Türkiye in discussions. Meeting in Belgian capital Brussels slated for late Oct postponed. FMs from Iran, Türkiye and Russia 23 Oct met Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Iran. Participants reiterated respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and “non-interference in internal affairs” after Iranian and Russian FMs criticised Western intervention in region. Speaking from Georgian capital Tbilisi, with Azerbaijani and Georgian PMs in attendance, Pashinyan 26 Oct announced sides were working on deal that could be signed “in coming months”.
Fears of new war between Armenia and Azerbaijan persisted. Baku’s successful military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh raised fears of another offensive, this time into Armenia’s Syunik region, to establish transport corridor linking Azerbaijan with its exclave, Nakhchivan. Azerbaijan’s chief negotiator Elchin Amirbayov 16 Oct sought to assuage fears and emphasised that Baku’s primary concern was safety of Azerbaijani passengers travelling through corridor. Azerbaijan 23 Oct began military drills with Türkiye, including near border with Armenia and in Nakhchivan. France same day announced sale of weapons to Armenia as Pashinyan signalled plans to reduce reliance on Russia for security. Meanwhile, escalation 3 Oct in Vardenis town bordering Azerbaijan’s Kelbajar district left one Armenian soldier dead and two wounded; sides traded blame for incident.
In other important developments. Yerevan 26 Oct adopted decree granting refugee status to over 100,000 people who fled Nagorno-Karabakh. Parliament 3 Oct ratified founding treaty of International Criminal Court, known as Rome Statute.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with Olesya Vartanyan and Zaur Shiriyev, Crisis Group’s South Caucasus experts, about where things stand between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the deadly border clashes in September and whether a peace agreement might be within reach.
A fragile truce concluded on 14 September halted fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia that left hundreds of soldiers dead. In this Q&A, Crisis Group explains what occurred and what needs to happen now to restart the peace process between the two foes.
This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group’s UN Director Richard Gowan about the state of the UN as world leaders meet for General Assembly week, and also catches up with Europe and Central Asia Program Director Olga Oliker about the latest from Ukraine and violence on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.
Six months of contacts between Türkiye and Armenia have brought an agreement to move toward opening their shared border and launching direct trade. But Ankara and Yerevan are far apart on many issues. The road ahead will be long.
Turkish and Armenian special envoys will meet in Moscow on 14 January to discuss normalising relations between these long-estranged neighbours. Crisis Group experts Olesya Vartanyan, Nigar Göksel and Zaur Shiriyev unpack how the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020 opened the way for talks.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to Crisis Group’s South Caucasus expert Olesya Vartanyan about the conflict in and over Nagorno-Karabakh, a year on from a Russian-brokered ceasefire that put an end to renewed large-scale fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The 2020 war over Nagorno-Karabakh left many issues unresolved and the front lines volatile. The parties should establish a formal communication channel to address urgent post-war problems, Russian peacekeepers need a clearer mandate and aid agencies must be granted access to the conflict zone.
Russian mediation succeeded in ending the six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh but left much unresolved, chiefly the region’s future status. If the cessation of hostilities is to become a sustainable peace, the parties should start by cooperating on humanitarian relief and trade before tackling larger questions.
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