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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/20/21

Nagorno-Karabakh waits for a strong decision

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Author 514929
Message Aram Manukyan

Despite the radical changes that took place towards the end of last year in the South Caucasus, the resolution of the long-standing ethnopolitical conflict remains an urgent task both for Baku and Yerevan, and for Moscow. And this process will not be easy.

In 2020, peacekeepers appeared in Karabakh for the first time after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And their role is positively assessed both in Baku and in Yerevan. However, their mandate is limited to five years. Although Azerbaijan and Armenia are pinning diametrically opposite hopes on the Russian mission.

The multidirectional processes - the integration of the territories around the NKAO into Azerbaijan and the preservation of the infrastructure of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic - cannot continue indefinitely. Its own administration operates on the territory of the NKR, personnel reshuffles are carried out, plans for the future are made outside the jurisdiction of Baku. By themselves, such collisions will not disappear.

Just as different views of large external players on how to arrange Karabakh will not disappear either. Despite the fact that Russia, Iran and Turkey would prefer interaction with each other with minimal involvement of Western partners, the three Eurasian giants assess the prospects of the Caucasus and their participation in resolving the problems of this region in different ways.

After Russia managed to stop the military conflict and take the lead in the negotiation process already under the new status quo, many hastened to discard the US and EU as a player in Karabakh affairs. But more active involvement of the United States and its allies does not seem like a completely closed topic.

Today Washington and Paris (the two co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group) are watching Moscow's activity and leadership positions. However, this is far from passive contemplation. Any failure of Russia in the Caucasus, caused both by the deterioration of Moscow's relations with Baku or Yerevan, and by the confrontation with Turkey, will be used to increase interference in the Caucasian regional agenda.

And that is why today the Russian side strives so hard not only to talk about the resolution of the conflict, but also to tie the parties to the conflict to the search for an effective peaceful solution with the help of joint economic projects. Any repetition of the Georgian scenarios on the Karabakh soil is fraught with more complex and intricate formats for the internationalization of the region in comparison with the confrontation between Russia and NATO. In this regard, it is extremely important for Moscow to maintain a balance in relations both with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran, and with partners in the OSCE Minsk Group.

 

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an American journalist with expertise in the history and politics of Caucasus region

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