EU Takes Further Steps in Caucasus – Amid Risks

By Nina Bachkatov

In a matter of weeks, Armenia and Azerbaijan are poised to engage deeply in negotiations over border delineation, aiming to quell three decades of conflict regarding Nagorno-Karabakh, where repeated rounds of talks have proven fruitless. Despite the involvement of various regional powers, including Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the European Union has also sought to contribute. However, the EU has struggled to reconcile its role as just one actor among many in the former Soviet Union, including the Caucasus. The complexity of the situation on the ground, often underestimated from Brussels, underscores the potential for even minor actions to trigger significant internal and external ramifications.

Nevertheless, the EU possesses a specific mechanism for engagement through the Eastern Partnership (E.P.), which includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Established at the Prague summit in May 2009, the E.P. offers additional funding in exchange for reforms in countries. Belarus has been removed from the list due to President Lukashenko’s regime; Ukraine and Moldova have pursued distinct paths.

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NKO Does not Exist Anymore

By Nina Bachkatov

From 23 to 27 October, the EU agendas will include a large chapter about the situation in the Caucasus, first at EU Ministerial level then during an EU summit. The problem is that the main regional conflict has been settled the oldest way, at gun point. On 19 September 2023, it took 24 hours for Azerbaijan forces to push the separatist armed forces to surrender. They had never recovered from the devastating 2020 “second war” when their soldiers were shot like rabbits by a restructured Azerbaijani army equipped with Turkish drones. Almost 2 years ago, this “44 days war” which costed 6.500 lives ended in 2 stages: on 10 October with a ceasefire negotiated by Russia which did not prevent fighting to continue, albeit at a lower intensity; and on 9 November 2020, when the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents signed an armistice agreement in Moscow. 

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