Small-scale steps towards long-term peace

Small-scale steps towards long-term peace

As we commemorate the first anniversary of the onset of the second Karabakh war, it is clear to the warring sides, as well as the international community, that the conflict has had too expensive a human cost. Although there are clear winners and losers following the military activities in 2020, the region cannot sustain prolonged animosity, economic and political rivalry, military buildup, angry rhetoric and closed borders. Urgent efforts are necessary to de-escalate the situation and identify long-term solutions to the stagnated conflict.

Those, who dream of revanchism are attempting to build up military capabilities and diplomatic alliances, which will eventually result in a new war, additional loss of human lives and a much larger humanitarian crisis.

A better alternative is to determine possible scenarios for the resolution of the conflict and proactively work to this end. It would be fair to say that extreme scenarios for conflict resolution, emerging from some political circles on both sides (i.e., full independence to Karabakh or vacating Karabakh of all Armenians) are not viable options. The international community, and for that matter, pragmatically-thinking politicians and intellectuals in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, reject such scenarios.

Thus, we must identify models which facilitate a peaceful co-existence of the Armenian and Azerbaijani populations within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan as well as some sort of security guarantees for the local, ethnic Armenian population.

The most important step to achieve such a model is to stop focusing on the "status" issue, which is certainly proven to be the thorniest and most difficult issue in peace talks; such a fixation reverses the list of priorities on the negotiations table and undermines sincere efforts to resolve the conflict. It is very unfortunate that some Western and Armenian politicians still focus on the "status" issue, which is not only unrealistic given the current context, but also extremely counterproductive to the peace objective. Such misguided arguments will only result in the warring sides drifting further apart and leave no room for compromises on other soft issues.

Putting the "status" issue on the backburner and instead focusing on economic cooperation, joint trade and transportation opportunities, unlocking the business potential of the region, solving humanitarian and demining issues will bring the conflicting sides closer to each other, build trust and interdependency, re-focus attention on similar values, traditions, historical examples of peaceful co-existence (most recently during Soviet times) and eventually lay a foundation for a more durable peace.

Another important step in this process is to neutralize and perhaps even ignore the anti-peace and anti-cooperation noise coming from radical groups on both sides, especially diaspora segments, focused on their historical agendas. These groups pursue their own nationalistic goals, which often do not correlate with the goals of the Republic of Armenia or the Republic of Azerbaijan. As such, these efforts hinder the peace process with their maximalist demands and ambitions.

Other much needed and immediate steps are the exchange of academics, NGO activists, youth, and media representatives in order to foster dialogue and constructive communication. Such efforts will diminish the image of ‘enemy’ cultivated over the past years from both sides. We need to proactively focus on positive rhetoric, messages and mutual projects which will elicit a better understanding and increase trust among the general populace.

Sustainable peace in the Caucasus will also depend on the position of the external powers and big neighbors. Fortunately, at the moment the positions of the immediate actors, such as Russia, Turkey, the EU and the US seem to correlate. The warring sides should use this great window of opportunity to develop a better dialogue with regional powers and involve them in the newly created security and economic architecture of the region.

Should Azerbaijan and Armenia miss this opportunity, the result will be catastrophic for both regional stability and national statehoods and sovereignty. Focusing on small steps of peacebuilding can bring large dividends in the immediate future.

By Fariz Ismayilzade

Vice Rector of the ADA University

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Kazakh and Russian PMs hold talks
Kazakh and Russian PMs hold talks
EBRD keen to create base of integrated supply chains in "Seaport Aktau" SEZ
EBRD keen to create base of integrated supply chains in "Seaport Aktau" SEZ
Kazakhstan launches polymetallic processing plant in Karaganda region
Kazakhstan launches polymetallic processing plant in Karaganda region
Loading Bars
Latest
U.S. readies plan to vaccinate kids ages 5-11 against COVID-19
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by Japan’s Nikkei newspaper on October 21, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 21, 2020
Trilateral meeting of Deputy PMs of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia held in Moscow
First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares footages from her visit to liberated Zangilan with President Ilham Aliyev (VIDEO)
Kazakh and Russian PMs hold talks
SOCAR AQS, Naftogaz ink MoU for dev’t of onshore, offshore technologies
President Ilham Aliyev: After a long break - 27 years of Armenian occupation, Zangilan returned to its homeland
Mikheil Saakashvili charged with illegal border crossing
Plan initiated to prosecute int'l companies for illegal exploitation of Vejnali gold deposit - president
Modern transport and logistics center, and necessary infrastructure to be created in Zangilan - President Aliyev
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on October 23
Certain contracts signed in Iran on manufacturing of spare car parts
Recent events on opening of Zangazur corridor show that we achieving our goals - Azerbaijani president
Azerbaijan strengthened its army, economy, international positions - President Aliyev
This is our common victory, victory of Azerbaijani people - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan to try resettle people in Zangilan by early next, maybe by late this year - President Aliyev
Turkey unveils number of ships received at local ports in September
Leading private Uzbek banks in terms of deposits
Funds allocated to draw up master plan for liberated Zangilan city
Leading Uzbek banks with state share in terms of deposits
David Babayan on private visit in Moscow - Azerbaijani Embassy in Russia
Iran`s TEDPIX drops on Wednesday
Azerbaijan reveals latest data on loan portfolio of local banks
Azerbaijani FM, US Assistant Secretary of State hold phone talks
Uzbek Central bank publishes list of leading non-state banks in terms of loans
EBRD keen to create base of integrated supply chains in "Seaport Aktau" SEZ
Kazakhstan launches polymetallic processing plant in Karaganda region
Azerbaijan raises metallurgical production
Leading Uzbek banks with state share in terms of loans
Britain's Lloyds Bank to close another 48 branches
Nasdaq profit beats on robust demand for investment products
Geely and Volvo's Lynk & Co set to expand to Gulf region in Q4 2021
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva meet with public representatives of Zangilan
Coronavirus situation in Russia becoming complicated — Putin
Dynamics of Azerbaijan’s electricity generation by 2025
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva take part in opening of Zangilan substation
Azerbaijani president, first lady attend groundbreaking ceremony for digital substation in Zangilan
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva view conditions in military unit of State Border Guard Service in Zangilan district
Azerbaijani president, First lady view process of construction of International Airport in Zangilan
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva view work done under "smart village" project in Aghali village
Waze: Traffic on Israel's roads 23% higher than pre-Covid
Azerbaijan's trade turnover with CIS countries grows in 9M2021
Iran unveils amount of money saved through domestic production
Azerbaijan announces increase in petrochemicals production for 9M2021
Azerbaijan records growth in agricultural production
“Azercell volunteers” brought joy to thousands of families over the past year
India to discuss IPR waiver on Covid vaccines, global trade issues during WTO DG’s 3-day
Nar continues to support the biggest Azerbaijani audiobook library
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visit Zangilan district (FOTO)
Number of TEU containers loaded/unloaded in western ports of Iran’s Hormozgan Province up
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
SOCAR in Georgia looking for crossover vehicles through operating lease
Iran bans local companies from entering Karabakh illegally
Gita Gopinath to leave IMF, return to Harvard University in January
India's total Covid-19 vaccinations cross 99-crore mark
Iran to re-enable issuing tourist visas
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 20
AccessBank to consider possibility of increasing its capital by end-2021
AccessBank projects slight increase in cost of manat resources
Georgia's knitwear exports to Turkey increase
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan to reduce oil production in 2022, says IMF
Georgia’s trade turnover with Turkey increases
Azerbaijan confirms 2,303 more COVID-19 cases, 1,010 recoveries
Iran sees increase in exports to Turkmenistan
IMF expects Azerbaijan’s gas output, export to rise in 2022
Saudi energy minister sees demand from gas-to-oil switch at up to 600,000 bpd
Azerbaijan boosts production of building materials
NATO is committed to Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations - Special Representative
Kremlin says direct contacts with Taliban needed to comprehend developments in Afghanistan
Baker Hughes posts Q3 profit as drilling demand returns
Bulgaria seeks grant financing for gas storage expansion
Turkmenistan joins "Turkic.World" project
Turkmenistan, Turkish 'RÖNESANS Holding' discuss further co-op in construction sector
Iran’s PMO implementing plans on shipbuilding
Azerbaijan's oil exports to Turkey for 9M2021 revealed
Turkmenistan preparing to take part in UN Climate Change Conference
Iran allocates more bank advances to various sectors of economy
Shipping Association of Iran talks cargo transportation to China
Azerbaijan to complete construction of Khudaferin, Giz Galasi HPPs in several years
Iran looks to expand oil ties with Venezuela
300 km of overhead, cable lines laid in Azerbaijan’s liberated territories - minister
Azerbaijan plans to fully provide liberated territories with electricity by end-2021
Iran eyes increasing investment in renewable energy
Iran’s East Oil & Gas Production Company increases extraction
Azerbaijan’s 9M2021 oil export to India revealed
Kazakhstan announces date of moving from external deficit to surplus zone
Azerbaijan cuts food imports
Azerbaijan purchases de-mining equipment from Croatia – Azerbaijani FM
Honey from Azerbaijan's liberated Kalbajar, Lachin delivered to Baku fair (PHOTO)
Kazakh Parliament approves bill "On state budget for 2022-2024"
Azerbaijan - strategic partner of Croatia, FM Gordan Grlić-Radman says
Iran boosts exports of metal products
Armenia must take effective steps to open communications – Azerbaijani FM
Russia records over 34,000 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours
Croatian companies may partake in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated areas
Azerbaijan discloses volume of chemical products output for 9M2021
Kazakhstan’s National Bank to continue its policy aimed at ensuring price stability
Azerbaijan, Croatia agree to hold political consultations – Azerbaijani FM
All news