Nagorno-Karabakh: Unstable frozen conflict

21-06-2016

For more than 20 years, this frozen conflict has opposed Azerbaijan on the one side and the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and Armenia on the other side. The Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in Azerbaijan, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence in September 1991. The non-recognition by Azerbaijan of this proclamation prompted a full-scale military conflict resulting in the de facto autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupation of seven Azerbaijani districts after the 1994 ceasefire. The conflict has remained highly unstable since then because it is part of a complex regional 'game' between Turkey and Russia. The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, the United States and Russia, remains the main forum in which to settle the conflict. Nevertheless, it has failed up to now to find a global peace agreement. Periodically, the situation on the ground becomes alarming, as it did in April 2016 when the conflict restarted, with dozens of people killed on both sides. Since 1994, the EU is mainly implicated in the process through the participation of France in the Minsk Group. The EU's offers of association agreements to both Armenia and Azerbaijan have not made any progress so far. The EU's leverage in the conflict has therefore been limited.

For more than 20 years, this frozen conflict has opposed Azerbaijan on the one side and the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and Armenia on the other side. The Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in Azerbaijan, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence in September 1991. The non-recognition by Azerbaijan of this proclamation prompted a full-scale military conflict resulting in the de facto autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupation of seven Azerbaijani districts after the 1994 ceasefire. The conflict has remained highly unstable since then because it is part of a complex regional 'game' between Turkey and Russia. The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, the United States and Russia, remains the main forum in which to settle the conflict. Nevertheless, it has failed up to now to find a global peace agreement. Periodically, the situation on the ground becomes alarming, as it did in April 2016 when the conflict restarted, with dozens of people killed on both sides. Since 1994, the EU is mainly implicated in the process through the participation of France in the Minsk Group. The EU's offers of association agreements to both Armenia and Azerbaijan have not made any progress so far. The EU's leverage in the conflict has therefore been limited.