Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Towards A Possible Peace In The South Caucasus?

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By Corneliu Pivariu

In a statement made on May 1, 2024, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kasym Jomart Tokayev welcomed the agreement between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia to hold negotiations at the level of foreign ministers to prepare a peace treaty, at the initiative of the Kazakh side.

The Kazakh initiative takes place in a complex global geopolitical situation, unlike any seen in the decades since the outbreak of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This complexity will also influence the course and even the outcome of the negotiations.

Another important element is the position of the directly involved parties. It is noteworthy that Azerbaijan has the advantage resulting from its success in the recent military conflict with Armenia, which practically led to the exodus of the majority Armenian population from Nagorno-Karabakh. Additionally, Azerbaijan is economically far superior to Armenia.

Under these conditions, it is very difficult to achieve a fair and sustainable peace. However, starting from the premise that there is a sincere desire for peace among the parties, we believe that, in order to succeed in the peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Almaty, there are several key factors that must be taken into account:

  1. Cooperation and political will: Both parties must demonstrate a clear political will and cooperate constructively to reach a sustainable agreement. Flexibility and reciprocal compromises will be essential.
  2. Addressing all key issues: Negotiations must comprehensively address all aspects of the conflict, including border demarcation, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, security, and humanitarian issues. No topic should be avoided.
  3. Trust and transparency: Building trust between the parties through transparency, information exchange, and reciprocal gestures of good faith will be crucial to facilitate progress. The lack of trust between Yerevan and Baku has been a defining element of this conflict.
  4. Involvement of credible mediators: The participation of international mediators, such as Russia, the United States, and the EU, can help facilitate compromises and acceptable solutions for both parties.
  5. Peace solutions must fairly recognize and integrate the fundamental concerns and needs of both states. Important regional actors will also have an influence on the outcome of the negotiations. We primarily consider Turkey and Iran, but we do not exclude Israel, India, and Saudi Arabia. Of course, the current major powers will also pay due attention to developments in this area, in the context of global geopolitical competition.

Important regional actors will also have an influence on the outcome of the negotiations. We primarily consider Turkey, Iran, but we also do not exclude Israel, India, Saudi Arabia. Of course, the current major powers will also pay due attention to developments in this area, in the context of global geopolitical competition.

Ultimately, success will largely depend on the willingness of both parties to refrain from conflictual rhetoric and to work constructively towards achieving lasting peace in the region.

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