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.
Baku and Yerevan continued bilateral work on peace treaty, but internationally mediated talks remained on hold.
Baku and Yerevan exchanged draft peace treaty amid simmering tensions. Bilateral efforts on Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty continued, with Yerevan 4 Jan returning draft proposal to Baku. In interview that nearly derailed efforts, however, Azerbaijani President Aliyev 10 Jan said Baku could cease participation in talks should Yerevan refuse to compromise, notably regarding security measures along border; he also reiterated calls for Russian-supervised corridor connecting mainland with exclave Nakhchivan, threatened military action if Armenia continued to procure weapons or ever sought to reclaim Nagorno-Karabakh (see Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict) and claimed “all of Zangezur” – alluding to southern Armenia – and other areas were historically Azerbaijani territory. PM Pashinyan 13 Jan decried “unacceptable territorial claims” but later softened stance, while EU 22 Jan threatened “severe consequences” if Armenia’s territorial integrity is violated. Sides 31 Jan held fresh talks on border delimitation but provided no details on what was discussed.
Baku continued to reject foreign mediation as Russia sought greater role. Senior EU and U.S. officials mid Jan travelled to capital Yerevan for talks, but not to Azerbaijan amid speculation in Azerbaijani media about cooling relations with West over Baku’s takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh (see Azerbaijan). Russia, meanwhile, sought to reassert its dominant role in region. Notably, ruling party 16 Jan confirmed partial delivery of Russian weaponry to Armenia after two-year delay; Russian FM Lavrov 18 Jan touted Russian mediation in 2023, blamed West for acting as spoiler.
In another important development. PM Pashinyan and his Georgian counterpart 26 Jan signed memorandum on “strategic partnership” in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.
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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