After redistribution: how to stabilise Nagorno-Karabakh?
In the wake of the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia must hand over the first of several areas to Azerbaijan on Sunday. The agreement stipulates that both parties will be allowed to keep those areas in which they currently have control - which for Armenia means heavy losses.
Clear case of double standards
Europe's stance is too one-sided, former Azerbaijani ambassador to Kiev Azer Hudiev complains in Obozrevatel:
“Some Western political circles make a diplomatic error when they accuse Baku of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s. ... Between 1989 and 1993 the Armenians expelled Azerbaijanis from their native regions in Armenia and Karabakh. As a result, 98 percent of the population of Armenia are ethnic Armenians. At the same time, tens of thousands of Armenians live in Azerbaijan - outside Nagorno-Karabakh. Because the Azerbaijanis are aware of this reality, they take a sceptical view of the neutrality of Western countries regarding the resolution of the conflict. … Western democracies are not demanding that Armenia guarantee the return of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis to their hometowns.”
Don't bring Pashinyan down now
Because they see the ceasefire conditions as a defeat, many Armenians are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Radio Kommersant FM believes this would be fatal for the country:
“If he is overthrown tomorrow by a revolutionary crowd or the belligerent opposition that considers the agreements a surrender, the ceasefire will be in danger. But a resumption of fighting in the current situation would end in disaster for Armenia. ... The Russian peacekeeping forces in Karabakh could then also be in danger. This would be absolutely intolerable for Moscow, which is Armenia's last and most effective protective shield. This is why populists who promise to resume the war and reclaim the lost territories must not be allowed to get anywhere near power.”
Region must be able to decide its own fate
Only one solution can ensure that the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh don't have to live in constant fear, a group of politicians, artists and academics argue in Le Temps:
“We have witnessed the criminal campaign led by Baku and Ankara, and it is absolutely clear that Armenians cannot live in safety under Baku's control. For such cases there is a concept that has been used at least twice since the end of World War II - in Kosovo and in East Timor: secession as a solution. A population at risk of genocide or ethnic cleansing by the state on which they depend is entitled to claim their right to self-determination as a last resort in the name of their survival and security. If ever a people have found themselves in such a situation, it is the Armenians of Karabakh today.”
Free cities for Nagorno Karabach!
In La Repubblica, philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy calls for major Armenian-populated areas to be declared "free cities":
“A century ago, the League of Nations invented the statute of the 'Free City of Danzig'. After the Second World War, the United Nations reapplied this status to Trieste. Why not do the same with Nagorno-Karabakh? Why doesn't France declare Stepanakert and Shushi 'Free Cities'? Why should their freedom not be guaranteed by an international force? That would be a beautiful gesture. And if France's example were followed by other states, it would be the act of a European Union that puts its values above its interests.”