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Armenia and Azerbaijan: Can Germany Bring Peace to the Caucasus?

Germany is set to host a two-day peace summit between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The two countries have recently had conflict caused by Azerbaijan recapturing Nagorno-Karabakh, which led to mass migration of the Armenian majority living there.

The region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been the subject of dispute between the countries for decades. They first went to war in 1998. The controversy surrounding this region has hampered peace in the Caucasus for centuries. After decades of conflict, Azerbaijan finally recaptured the region. The ethnic-Armenian majority in the region ruled Nagorno-Karabakh as the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, also known as the Republic of the Artsakh. However, the region has always been internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.

The military action by Azerbaijan was categorised as ethnic cleansing by Armenia. Azerbaijan stated that it was not, and the Armenians did not have to flee and could have been integrated as part of Azerbaijan if they stayed. This has fuelled the contempt between the two countries. Moreover, Azerbaijan did not welcome any intervention from a third-party mediator, such as the United States or the United Kingdom. Azerbaijan even accused the USA of jeopardising relations by showing bias towards Armenia.

In November last year, German Foreign Minister Anna Baerbock travelled to the countries this year. To the world's surprise, in December 2023, both countries finally issued a joint statement indicating they wanted to work towards peace. It could be that Germany finally found the key to helping both countries be satisfied with the administrative and military arrangements in Nagorno-Karbakh.

Furthermore, in a February 2024 conference, Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor, met Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashniyan, indicating Germany's crucial role in facilitating peace in the region.

Germany will host a trilateral meeting to facilitate peace talks between the countries. The countries are now presented with the historic chance to bring peace to the region. Armenia and Azerbaijan will gain from ending the region's prevailing culture of strife and bloodshed, and the Caucasus will also profit. By promoting trade agreements, economic prosperity, social development, and international cooperation, peace presents a revolutionary opportunity that can unlock the region's full potential for growth and advancement.

Therefore, the forthcoming talks must yield tangible results for the prospect of sustainable peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The urgency cannot be overstated, as the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict holds the key to alleviating the suffering of its populace and averting further bloodshed. The stakes are monumental, as a successful outcome could restore peace to the region and rewrite the narrative of discord that has plagued it for decades. These discussions must mark a turning point in history, ushering in an era of lasting reconciliation and stability.

Edited by: Vidhi Dujodwala

Image Source: Barron's

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