Image by Adam Jones
Ruins of Soviet Star and Crest – Shushi – Nagorno-Karabakh
Europe, along with Russia, is still trying to solve the ‘frozen conflict’ from the fall of the USSR in the Nagorno-Karabakh region located between Armenia and Azerbaijan. After flaring dangerously in 2016, violence has trended downwards as the East and West realize the conflict could mushroom into something bigger. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has been heavily involved in the peace process through its Minsk Group.
In a recent press statement, the OSCE declared, “In their meetings with the Co-Chairs, the leaders in both capitals confirmed that the level of violence has fallen significantly since they reaffirmed in Dushanbe their commitment to reduce tensions. In their consultations, the Co-Chairs received additional details about the implementation of the Dushanbe understanding, including with regard to the establishment of direct communication links. The Co-Chairs welcomed these developments, commended the sides for implementing constructive measures in good faith, and expressed support for the leaders’ readiness to continue their dialogue, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“The Co-Chairs stressed the importance of sustaining a climate of trust for intensive negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” OSCE added noting that “the Foreign Ministers agreed to meet again before the end of the year.”
Russia’s Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor Popov said earlier that he does not rule out that Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers may meet on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan scheduled for December. The press service of Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry told TASS on Friday that “the time and place of the meeting have not been confirmed yet,” reported TASS.
The Russian Federation sells weapons to both sides and Russia maintains a military base in Armenia. American National Security Advisor John Bolton was recently in Yerevan, after visiting Russia to discuss the INF treaty, and promised access to American arms sales for the new Pashinyan government. This development did not sit well with Moscow.