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Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

CrisisWatch Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Unchanged Situation

Insecurity continued in conflict zone, while Armenia and Azerbaijan held second FMs meeting since 2020 war and established hotline to prevent flare-ups. In worrying incident, small group of ethnic Armenian plumbers near Azerbaijani-controlled Shusha were reportedly targeted in shooting, leaving one dead and three wounded 8 Nov; local media attributed shooting to Azerbaijani soldier while Russian peacekeepers next day launched investigation into attack. Local ethnic Armenian resident 13 Nov threw hand grenade at Azerbaijani soldiers at checkpoint near Shusha town; Baku reported three Azerbaijani soldiers lightly injured. Azerbaijan 10 Nov strongly condemned “provocative” visit by Armenian defence minister to Nagorno-Karabakh. On diplomatic front, FMs of Azerbaijan and Armenia 10 Nov met in French capital Paris for second post-Autumn 2020 war meeting under mediation of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs; Armenian foreign ministry same day said FM expressed position to “fully resume the peace process”. Following clashes, European Council President Charles Michel 19 Nov proposed bilateral meeting in Dec between Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders, reportedly confirmed by both sides, and reported agreement on direct communication line between defence ministers. Russian President Putin 26 Nov met with both leaders in Russian city of Sochi to discuss situation one year after ceasefire to 2020 war; Sochi summit finished with no progress on establishment of Russia-mediated commission to define state border and instead Armenia and Azerbaijan declared readiness to see prospects to launch bilateral commission; Putin reported progress on unblocking regional transport/communication links with final agreement reportedly expected by end of 2021. On disputed international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, deadly escalation 16 Nov erupted between armed forces (see Armenia and Azerbaijan).

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

3 Oct 2020
This is a more serious escalation [over Nagorno-Karabakh], much better prepared, with more troops, and happening simultaneously on all parts of the front line. The Economist

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
28 Sep 2020
We are a step away from a large-scale war (between Armenia and Azerbaijan). Al-Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
27 Jul 2020
At some point there are things that require somebody to set a leadership agenda. [OSCE] can’t do all of that without somebody in charge. Financial Times

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
16 Jul 2020
It seems unlikely the [Azerbaijan-Armenia] crisis would escalate, as neither side has territorial claims on northern border areas and the fighting had not spread to Karabakh itself. Al Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
12 Apr 2017
The chances for the potential escalation [of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict] are very high. And the conflict will be more deadly this time, since both sides know each other’s capabilities Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Magdalena Grono

Former Program Director, Europe & Central Asia
29 Dec 2016
[A border clash between Armenia and Azerbaijan] is really very strange and surprising. There have been very few incidents outside Nagorno-Karabakh this year. Financial Times

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

Latest Updates

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2021 – Autumn Update

Every year Crisis Group publishes two additional Watch List updates that complement its annual Watch List for the EU, most recently published in January 2021. These publications identify major crises and conflict situations where the European Union and its member states can generate stronger prospects for peace. The Autumn Update of the Watch List 2021 includes entries on Afghanistan, Burundi, Iran, Nagorno-Karabakh and Nicaragua.

Cooperation over Conflict in the South Caucasus

While the war over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020 moved the front lines in Azerbaijan’s favour, it has not brought peace. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2021, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to engage in humanitarian initiatives in both Armenia and Azerbaijan and continue to engage diplomatically through the OSCE Minsk Group.

Improving Prospects for Peace after the Nagorno-Karabakh War

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.

Also available in Русский
Podcast / Asia

Ethnicity and Conflict in Myanmar

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood talk about the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh with Crisis Group’s Europe Program Director Olga Oliker and examine Myanmar’s identity crisis with Crisis Group expert Richard Horsey. 

Getting from Ceasefire to Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh

A Russian-brokered deal has silenced the guns in Nagorno-Karabakh, the region disputed for decades by Armenia and Azerbaijan. It falls short, however, of a clear, sustainable peace. The parties and foreign stakeholders should work to ensure that the new arrangements have benefits for all concerned.

Our People

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
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Zaur Shiriyev

Analyst, South Caucasus
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