The Failed Minsk Group: How Far is Karabakh Peace?

Dr. Elnur ISMAYIL
10 November 2015
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The intensification of efforts to seek a peaceful settlement for the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict is again one of the main top issues in the latest media news of Azerbaijan and Armenia. On the other hand international organizations are concerned about the increasing tensions on the borderline between two countries. The next presidential meeting between Azerbaijan and Armenia probably will take place before the end of 2015. And this meeting will happen after the constitutional amendments referendum in Armenia on December 6, 2015.

 

On the eve of the upcoming presidential meeting, the situation in the NK conflict zone is worsening. Occasional instances of intensified ceasefire violations over the past months foreshadow a new military clash between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Especially from August 2014 onwards, clashes occur every several months, making the situation in the region more unstable and dangerous. This analysis tries to find an answer to the question of what could be expected from the next presidential meeting, and of whether there is any hope for conflict settlement in the near future?

 

In the last two decades the OSCE Minsk Group, which is officially responsible for dealing with the NK conflict, has remained ineffective in making concrete progress, apart from its “achievement” on the Madrid Principles. On the eve of each presidential meeting three co-chairs represented by Russia, the US and France express their hopes for contribution to the political settlement of the conflict. Following the escalation of tensions on the conflict zone in August 2014 the Minsk Group co-chair states brokered talks of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents. First, Russian President Vladimir Putin had hosted a meeting between Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan on August 10, 2014 in Sochi. Then, under the mediation of the US Secretary of State John Kerry, two presidents had a meeting at the NATO Summit in Wales. And last, French President Francois Hollande held talks between the two conflict parties on October 27, 2014 in Paris. But none of these meetings has made progress in a conflict settlement. There have been attempts to bring them both presidents to the table on the margin of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2015. But those attempts failed because of Ilham Aliyev’s nonparticipation in the UN Summit in New York.

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