Over the past month and a half, two souvenir currency notes from Nagorno-Karabakh have unleashed a storm of accusations and counter-accusations between Azerbaijani officials and representatives of the Armenian-controlled, self-styled republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On the surface, the red and green notes, which have no monetary value, seem harmless enough. One diplomat even compared the notes to money used for the board game Monopoly. But for those directly involved in trying to achieve a Karabakh peace settlement -- in particular the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan, along with Karabakh Armenian leaders -- there is nothing about that is taken lightly about the 1988-94 conflict.
At present, the Karabakh peace talks are deadlocked. Azerbaijan is adamantly opposed to any political arrangement that leaves Karabakh outside its jurisdiction. Armenia, meanwhile, will not accept a settlement that restores any level of Azerbaijani control over the enclave. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
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Elizabeth Owen is a is a freelance writer specializing in political issues in the Caucasus.