Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can flare up again if no long term agreement reached

  12 December 2014    Read: 1700
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can flare up again if no long term agreement reached
It is clear that if no long term agreement is found in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, there is a risk that it could flare up again, Dr. Neil John Melvin, Director of the Armed Conflict and Conflict Management Program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said Dec. 12.

Melvin made the remarks while answering to questions at a briefing in Brussels, Belgium.

He said the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict appeared when the EU had no common foreign policy and was not in a position to act as a mediator.

“Minsk Group was created but now some conflict parties are asking whether this format can achieve peace,” he said, adding “In case of the future involvement of the EU in the mediation process, the Union will need to develop a common approach to the situation in the region.”

Asked about the conflict in Ukraine, Melvin said that for the EU, the Ukraine conflict is a priority conflict for resolution now, adding “because it is a hot conflict on Europe’s borders and, while important, other protracted conflicts in Europe’s east are largely frozen, even if there is still incidents of violence”.

He said the EU has the resources for mediation and conflict resolution but doesn’t have political strategy and complex approach to this issue.

“The EU countries do not have consensus in their ideas about what to do in some key areas,” Melvin said.

He noted that even in the case of the Ukrainian crisis, while the EU countries could agree to impose sanctions, they do not have a shared view on a strategy beyond the sanctions in regards to the future relationship with Russia.

“Concerning prospects of involvement of the EU in mediation efforts in other conflicts, it has to see whether it can first work together in the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis,” Melvin said.

He noted that if the EU joins the mediation process it will have to influence on the internal affairs of the countries involved in the conflicts.

“For example, as developments around the Russian community in Ukraine have demonstrated, the EU will have to include issues like the situation of national minorities in its political engagement,” he added.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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