Fighting in July interrupted what had been a stretch of relative quiet on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. The incidents underscored how quickly and unexpectedly this front can erupt. The two countries should take better advantage of a hotline created in 2018 to avoid dangerous misunderstandings.
Govt decision to congratulate Belarusian President Lukashenko following his re-election in disputed vote sparked domestic opposition. PM Pashinyan 10 Aug congratulated Lukashenko on controversial re-election for sixth term in office; President Armen Sargsyan same day sent congratulatory telegram. Pashinyan’s words of congratulations prompted numerous activists to demand that he rescind statement, while politicians, civil society groups and activists gathered in small protests in capital Yerevan and published apology statements, condemning actions of Belarusian police forces and calling for support to opposition groups over following days. In response to criticism, Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan 16 Aug said govt had taken decision to congratulate Lukashenko after “comprehensive risk assessment”. Former leader Serzh Sargsyan 19 August spoke for first time in press conference about govt’s alleged mishandling of April 2016 escalation that resulted in loss of life and territory in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, stating Azerbaijan launched unpredictable offensive and denying army’s corruption and poor performance. Govt 12 Aug extended some COVID-19 lockdown restrictions until 11 Sept with plans to resume school classes on 15 Sept.
The threat of coronavirus looms large in six self-declared republics that have broken away from post-Soviet states. War and isolation have corroded health care infrastructure, while obstructing the inflow of assistance. International actors should work with local and regional leaders to let life-saving aid through.
If they move quickly, Armenia and Azerbaijan could break out of their long impasse over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. They could pursue quiet talks on thorny issues – settlements, peacekeepers and final status – but along separate tracks rather than in a single package.
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.
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.
Many people would be very surprised if clashes at the Armenia-Azerbaijan border spiral out into war, but that doesn’t mean something cannot happen, say, in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
The general public sees Mr. Kocharian as a person responsible for accelerating the political stagnation that led to economic decline and social problems in [Armenia].
The [Armenian] government generally supports a deeper militarization of society. The reforms discussed plan to merge everyday life with military service – the so-called 'army-society' model.
Settlements in proximity to the trenches on the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border render civilians on both sides equally vulnerable.
Water was once abundant in the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, thanks to a network of reservoirs and irrigation pipes, but today shortages are chronic.
Online Event to discuss International Crisis Group's briefing "The COVID-19 Challenge in post-Soviet Breakaway Statelets".
A new communication channel has sparked hope for negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. But as Crisis Group Analyst Zaur Shiriyev found talking to Azerbaijani soldiers and villagers living near the front, decades of conflict mean that the path to peace will be rocky.