Politics Regional

Western agenda in the Southern Caucasus

The Nagorno-Karabakh peace agreement which was negotiated with the participation of Turkey and Russia, brought not only peace to contested land, but also Russian peacekeepers called to monitor this peace for five or even potentially ten years.

Professional diplomats have worked hard in the Minsk Group to resolve the conflict since 1993, but the governments of the US and France, together with the rest of Europe, were ‘missing in action’ in recent weeks.

We are in an era of great-power competition, and we believe that great-power competition prevents great-power conflict. This competition concerns four domains: diplomacy, information, military, and economy.

By demonstrating that we are interested in a region or place or event, we are conveying to a potential adversary that we care about it, are putting resources into it, and will defend that strategic interest. Otherwise, our inability to compete in the South Caucasus in all domains make this conflict continuing.

Moscow deployed troops in all three countries in the South Caucasus – Georgia (20 percent of its territory is occupied since 2008), Armenia (occupied bases left over from the collapse of the Soviet Union), and, now, in Azerbaijan. We must step up efforts to protect international law and work more closely with stakeholders on the ground to create some of the conditions for a lasting peace between Azerbaijanis and Armenians.

The importance of the Nagorno-Karabakh region is that it is the only east-west land corridor connecting Europe and Eurasia bypassing Iran and Russia.

This creates a good preconditions for the development of the economic potential of the Black Sea region and the West should not waste this opportunity. Important thing is cooperation with Turkey to help maintain the peace and stay relevant in the region.

NATO needs Georgia and Turkey. We should extend an invitation to Georgia to immediately join Nato as well as reboot relationships with Turkey as focal point of defence and security in that part of the world for the coming century. These steps are crucial in order to monitor the deployment and activities of the Russian peacekeepers, to show our strategic interest in the Southern Caucasus and to declare our serious intentions in region to prevent great-power conflict.

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