Reorganization of the Caucasus. What the West offered to Armenia and Azerbaijan

MOSCOW, October 8 – Novosti, Mikhail Katkov. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan first spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and then met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. They agreed to deploy EU observers on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, while Baku is expected to sign a peace agreement by the end of the year. After that, Ankara will unblock all transport communications with Yerevan. What does this mean for the South Caucasus – in the material of Novosti.

No laughing matter

The talks took place in Prague, on the sidelines of a meeting of the European Political Community. French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel acted as mediators. A statement was published that the parties recognize the territorial integrity and sovereignty of each other and this should serve as the basis for the work of the delimitation commission. In addition, from the end of October, a civilian mission of the European Union will spend two months on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The goal is to build trust.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan during a meeting on the sidelines of a meeting of the European Political Community in Prague
In turn, Erdogan promised Pashinyan to unblock transport communications after the Armenians and Azerbaijanis make peace. According to him, he sincerely believes in the full normalization of bilateral relations. The President of Turkey firmly shook hands with the head of Armenia and demonstrated friendliness in every possible way.
A warm atmosphere reigned at the summit. Aliyev and Pashinyan, judging by the photos and short videos, tried in every possible way to convince each other of good intentions, including going beyond their usual rhetoric. However, the leader of Azerbaijan was noticeably more relaxed than his counterpart. Perhaps this is due to the fact that, as a result of the September hostilities, the Azerbaijani army stopped just a few kilometers from the Armenian resort town of Jermuk.
The meeting of the commission on border delimitation will be held in late October in Brussels. It is noteworthy that all the current agreements were provided for by the document signed on November 9, 2020 by Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan after the second Karabakh war. Now Western countries are actively participating in the peace process.
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Foreign countries will help them

In mid-July, CIA head William Burns flew to Armenia, and in mid-September, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. The State Department acts as an intermediary between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov. American diplomats and politicians are constantly talking about the need for a speedy settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. But the congress is discussing the possibility of arms supplies to Armenia.
In the European Union, the main defender of the Armenians is France. In particular, Paris called on Baku to withdraw its troops from Armenian territory (according to Yerevan, Azerbaijan has occupied tens of square kilometers since 2021) and supported the idea of ​​deploying international observers on the border. The French city of Vienne promised to help front-line Goris with the development of the healthcare system.
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Visit of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Armenia
At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that CSTO observers could be sent to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. And Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk clarified that the creation of the Zangezur corridor, which the Azerbaijani media loves to talk about, is out of the question and this is not discussed at trilateral negotiations. Each of the parties to the conflict strives for peace and prosperity, which cannot be achieved by living in conflict with neighbors, the Deputy Prime Minister noted. Mutual distrust interferes, due to which any careless action can turn into a tragedy.
Commenting on the participation of the West in the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow is against geopolitical intrigues that are fraught with disruption of the situation. The position of the West, in her opinion, is insufficiently balanced, and some of its representatives cannot act as “peace mediators” at all. Nevertheless, Zakharova stressed that Russia would support any effort that would yield tangible results.
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Multipolar world

“Negotiations in Prague bring the signing of a peace treaty closer, but this is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. At the same time, it should be taken into account that the United States and the European Union are trying to oust Russia from the South Caucasus. And the past summit is a clear evidence of this,” explains the deputy director of the Institute of Oriental Studies RAS Alexander Skakov.
In his opinion, the increase in the number of platforms for dialogue is in the hands of Pashinyan. The Armenian leader does not want to sign peace on unfavorable terms, but there are no others. Therefore, he tries to maneuver between Moscow, Washington and Brussels, hoping to delay the process as much as possible. On the other hand, his throwing can further destabilize the region, because Azerbaijan wants to quickly resolve controversial issues.
Nikol Pashinyan and Emmanuel Macron at the NATO summit in Brussels
“The United States and France support Armenia, Turkey supports Azerbaijan. Moscow still has peacekeepers, but both Baku and Yerevan have recently been saying more and more often that the Ukrainian crisis almost nullified the Russian role in the region,” warns the head of the Institute’s Caucasus department CIS countries Vladimir Novikov.
Pashinyan wants security guarantees. So far, no one is ready to promise him that after Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijani army will not invade the Syunik region. “The monitoring mission of the European Union can become a saving straw for the Armenian Prime Minister,” the expert notes.
Experts interviewed by Novosti believe that Russia is able to regain the status of the main mediator in the South Caucasus. But this requires a more active policy in the region, including through the CSTO and the peacekeeping mission.
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