Azerbaijan is keen to resettle territories regained from Armenian control. Landmines are its largest headache. To woo foreign support, Baku should be more welcoming of outside expertise. Along with Yerevan, it should also unlink demining from the conflict and consider joining the landmine ban treaty.
Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks remained on hold amid latter’s cooling relations with EU and U.S., and fears of border escalation simmered.
Peace talks with Armenia remained on hold. Azerbaijan’s drift away from EU and U.S.-facilitated peace talks continued. Having twice cancelled participation in EU-mediated meetings in Oct, Baku 16 Nov withdrew from meeting between Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs slated for 20 Nov in Washington DC, criticising “one-sided and biased” remarks by Assistant Sec State James O’Brien; O’Brien earlier that day had spoken publicly about U.S. decision to pause bilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan until peace deal was reached with Armenia. Instead, Azerbaijan 21 Nov proposed direct negotiations with Armenia in “mutually acceptable” location. In meantime, Armenia 21 Nov returned sixth draft of peace treaty to Azerbaijan. Deputy PMs of Azerbaijan and Armenia 30 Nov held fifth meeting of border-delimitation commissions, agreed to “intensify” talks.
EU announced renewed support to Armenia, including along border with Azerbaijan. EU High Representative Josep Borrell 13 Nov announced decision to expand EU Mission in Armenia with “more observers and more patrols” along border with Azerbaijan; Borrell also said EU would consider military support and visa liberalisation options for Armenia. Baku next day responded to “biased policy” by cancelling bilateral projects and visits to EU. French delivery of 50 armoured vehicles 13 Nov arrived in Armenia, which Azerbaijan same day “strongly” condemned.
Yerevan worried about potential border escalation. As fears of new escalation along border due to stalled talks persisted, Yerevan 18 Nov reported one soldier injured close to Azerbaijani exclave Nakhichevan. Yerevan next day hosted Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit, where Armenian PM Pashinyan reiterated desire for peace but warned Baku was preparing for “new armed aggression”.
In other important developments. Authorities late Nov arrested four leaders of media channels AbzasNews and Kanal 13 TV over alleged cash smuggling and illegal property use; Govt 28 Nov summoned ambassadors of U.S., France and Germany, accusing them of “illegal contributions” to AbzasMedia, which U.S. next day rejected.
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.
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.
Fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh is decimating towns and cities, displacing tens of thousands and killing scores. Combatants must cease attacks on populated areas and let humanitarian aid through. International actors, notably the UN and OSCE, should send monitors and push harder for a ceasefire.
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