Policy Memos

The Quest for Stability in the Karabakh Conflict: Conventional Deterrence and Political Containment

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The current situation around the Karabakh conflict leads to pessimism concerning the prospects for a speedy resolution based on mutual compromise. The latest meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents with the mediation of their Russian counterpart, held in Kazan on June 24, 2011, was a failure. The sides retain totally contrasting approaches to resolution of the conflict and are not ready for compromises of any kind. The maximum concessions that each side could conceivably make are far less than the minimal requirements of the opposing side. As well, the “basic principles” put forth by the mediating Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) satisfy neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan. Moreover, the party whose fate is most under discussion, the unrecognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, remains outside the negotiation format, another obstacle to its success. The international community is not pleased with this lack of progress, but views the continuation of negotiations in itself as a positive development, justifying the long-term activity of the Minsk Group while maintaining a fragile peace on the frontline. [...]

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