Armenia and Azerbaijan are once again on collision course along increasingly active front lines in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. Mediators Russia, France and the U.S., should pressure Yerevan and Baku to tone down inflammatory rhetoric, agree to talks and take steps towards peace.
Opening first session of new parliament 18 May, President Sargsyan called for more reforms in economy and social policy. Govt formally reappointed 25 May, with PM Karapetyan and most of cabinet keeping positions; some ministerial positions went to representatives of Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun political party, which 11 May signed alliance agreement with ruling Republican party.
Stronger international engagement is needed to help prevent the deadly conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan from escalating gravely at a time of internal political tensions in both.
Unless Armenia’s next presidential election is fair and gives its winner a strong political mandate, the government will lack the legitimacy needed to implement comprehensive reforms, tackle corruption and negotiate a peaceful end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Escalating front-line clashes, a spiralling arms race, vitriolic rhetoric and a virtual breakdown in peace talks increase the chance Armenia and Azerbaijan will go back to war over Nagorno-Karabakh, with devastating regional consequences.
Turkey and Armenia are close to settling a dispute that has long roiled Caucasus politics, isolated Armenia and cast a shadow over Turkey’s European Union (EU) ambition.
Armenia’s flawed presidential election, the subsequent lethal crackdown against a peaceful protest rally, the introduction of a state of emergency and extensive arrests of opposition supporters have brought the country to its deepest crisis since the war against Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh ended in 1994.
Originally published in Council on Foreign Relations
Originally published in The International Herald Tribune
Lawrence Sheets, Crisis Group's South Caucasus Project Director, discusses the risks of renewed war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.