19 February, 2019 23:21

Does a Rhetoric of Peace Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Really Exist?

By Ani Paitjan 

During a talk with students at Heidelberg University in Germany on February 14, the President of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, stated that the only way to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is through peace.

Sarkissian said that even the smallest destabilizing phenomenon would be very destructive for the region, and therefore the only one option is to settle the conflict.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has shared a similar rhetoric, stating that the conflict should be solved peacefully.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in an unresolved conflict over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, following a war that took place from 1988 to 1994.

Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have unofficially met three times in the last six months and on the sidelines of other events, most recently the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Both have talked about reducing violence along the front lines between the two sides.

The Organization for the Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group,  the international body tasked with facilitating negotiations between the two sides, said this is the most positive rhetoric exchanged between the two parties in years.

However, some Karabakh conflict specialists are not so convinced. Emil Sanamyan, editor of Focus on Karabakh, does not see a rhetoric of peace.

“While in fact there has been reduction of militant rhetoric, I don’t see much peace rhetoric at all,” he said. “After four years of consistent military pressure, the Aliyev regime decided to take a pause and re-group. This is what is continuing now, but it does not preclude fresh escalations.”

U.S. Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, a Former Karabakh Peace Negotiator, is also weary about the recent interactions between the two states.

“The good news is that there is a lot more talking, there really is a lot less fighting. That said, I can tell you that the global threat assessment that the U.S. Intelligence Community provided to Capitol Hill, to Congress, does highlight the danger of renewed fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Cavanaugh to CivilNet’s Syuzanna Petrosyan.

Read More:

Karabakh Should Join Negotiations Process, Says Pashinyan

Laurence Broers: How Ready Are Armenia and Azerbaijan for Peace?