The Bug Pit
In the wake of the first meeting between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to discuss a peace deal for their long-running conflict, a war of words has erupted between the two sides.
The first formal meeting between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev met the modest expectations that most observers had for it, with both sides assessing the negotiations positively and pledging to continue talks.
When U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would formally recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel, most of the rest of the world rejected the move. But he found an ally in the de facto leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh.
As the leadership struggle between Armenia and the rest of the Collective Security Treaty Organization drags on, Russia – which dominates the group – is coming to the conclusion that the solution may just be not to name a secretary general until Armenia’s current term expires next year.
Armenia has sent 83 soldiers to Syria as part of a Russian-backed demining and humanitarian mission there.
For years, Russia has been asking its military allies to help out in Syria, but until now no one has taken them up on the offer. The Armenian offer comes as Yerevan-Moscow ties have been frayed following the rise to power of Nikol Pashinyan and his team of pro-Western allies.
A new book claims to expose Nagorno-Karabakh as an international hub of drug, arms, and human smuggling. But the book’s murky origins and hard-to-support allegations suggest instead an elaborate effort to spread black PR in the international media against Karabakh and the Armenian forces who control it.
Azerbaijan and Russia are in an escalating diplomatic battle over the former’s policy of denying ethnic Armenians of any citizenship entrance to the country.
News that Armenia and Azerbaijan had made a small step toward peace was welcomed by observers as a rare sign of hope in the conflict between the two countries. But many leading voices in the region reacted negatively to the news, vividly illustrating the hardened attitudes toward the sorts of compromises that would be necessary to achieve a real peace deal.
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan have met and agreed on the need to prepare their populations for peace and to discuss possibilities to cooperate economically. The optimistic statements following the meeting were a yet another sign of a marked decrease in diplomatic tensions between the two sides over the last few months.