The Still-Perilous Path Toward Peace Between Armenia and Azerbaijan

It has been almost two years since a November 2020 ceasefire deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended a brutal six-week war. While the Moscow-brokered deal was meant to end large-scale combat operations, it hasn’t stopped regular flare-ups of armed violence between the two sides since, culminating in September with the deadliest clashes yet along their shared border. Although Armenia and Azerbaijan may now be edging closer to a peace agreement, the negotiations remain fraught. The fighting in 2020 ended with Azerbaijan back in control of territories adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh, which the Armenian troops had held for almost 30 years, since the end of the last large-scale conflict, and parts of that region as well. But a deal would determine the future of Nagorno-Karabakh, including parts populated by local Armenians, where Russian peacekeepers have patrolled since 2020. The prospect of Azerbaijan regaining control makes ethnic Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh nervous, to say the least. 

In this episode of War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with Olesya Vartanyan and Zaur Shiriyev, Crisis Group’s South Caucasus experts, about where things stand between Armenia and Azerbaijan. They talk about the causes and consequences of the large-scale clashes in September. They also address how Russia’s involvement has changed in the region and how its war in Ukraine has affected peacemaking efforts. Finally, they address how views on the prospects of peace differ in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and what it would mean to create sustainable peace in the region.

For more about the political situation in Armenia and Azerbaijan, make sure to check out Crisis Group’s Caucasus regional page.

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