The peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan concluded with the mediation of Russia and Turkey, temporarily ends the bloody war and brings hope for a bright future for the mountain enclave. However, how long will the truce in Nagorno-Karabakh last? According to this agreement, Russian peacekeepers will be deployed in the region for at least five years, writes EUobserver.

At the moment, Moscow is stationing its troops in all three countries of the South Caucasus – Georgia (20% of the sovereign territory has been occupied since 2008), Armenia (in the bases left after the collapse of the Soviet Union), and now in Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, the United States is co-chairing the Minsk Group along with France and Russia; this group can also be called an “offshoot” of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Professional diplomats have worked hard in the Minsk Group to resolve the conflict since 1993, but the US and French governments, along with the rest of Europe, have “gone missing” in recent weeks, and now the people of Nagorno-Karabakh are “paying for it.”

The world lives in an era of competition between great powers, therefore, perhaps it is the powerful states that should prevent military conflicts.

If an influential state demonstrates that it is “interested” in a particular region, it shows its “potential rival” its readiness to defend this region and defend its strategic interests. This helps prevent conflict by reducing the likelihood of “encroachment” from potential adversaries.

However, such protection of strategic interests should cover all spheres: diplomacy, information, military sphere, and economy.

The inability of the United States to fully and consistently compete in the wider Black Sea region in all areas, including the South Caucasus, allowed the bloody conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh to flare up with renewed vigor, as a result of which thousands of people died. The Kremlin took the lead, while most other powerful states simply “watched the result.”

For the US and Europe, “staying away” in such situations is no longer a “viable option.”

The Nagorno-Karabakh region, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, is the only land corridor connecting Europe and Eurasia that does not pass through Russia or Iran, and this is a key moment for the development of the economic potential of the large Black Sea region.

That is why the West must intensify its efforts to protect international law and work closely with stakeholders on the ground to create conditions for lasting peace between Azerbaijanis and Armenians.

This undoubtedly requires sustained diplomatic efforts, as well as economic support and potential private investment. To remain “relevant” in the region and help preserve peace, the West must work with Turkey to normalize the volatile situation.

Perhaps it is high time to stabilize relations between Turkey and NATO. NATO allies could use Turkey’s role as a central point of defense and security in the region. A vibrant working relationship with Turkey could allow Ankara to revive its role as an important and reliable member of the Western alliance.

The West must also closely monitor the deployment and activities of Russian peacekeepers. It is also important to monitor the observance of human rights.

Restoring the border between Turkey and Armenia will create a range of trade and investment opportunities that can help restore confidence and bring both Armenia and Azerbaijan closer to the “transatlantic family.”

Azerbaijanis have committed themselves to protect the security of Armenian communities in the region, as well as the integrity of cultural monuments and artifacts. The West must help Baku fulfill its side of the deal.

The peace agreement, despite the presence of Russian “peacekeepers”, provides an opportunity for the West to seize by remaining vigilant about Russia’s role on the ground.

Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh is an essential part of achieving stability in the region. If the West begins to build strong relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as expand cooperation with Georgia, this could be a message to the Kremlin that the region is of strategic interest to democratic countries. The West must compete in the South Caucasus as long as it has such an opportunity in order to prevent a potential big conflict, the newspaper concludes.

© The Eastern Herald
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Qamar Munawer
Editor at The Eastern Herald. Studied Bachelor in Architect in Chandigarh, India. Collecting and writing newsworthy stories from around the world. I love to praise nature.