Nagorno-Karabakh: talks on the Armenians' future

After Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev declared victory over Nagorno-Karabakh, a first round of negotiations on the future of the Armenian-majority region has ended without an agreement. The talks between representatives of both sides focused on the question of security and supplies for the region's population. Has there been a fundamental shift in the balance of power?

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France Inter (FR) /

A turning point in the Caucasus

The negotiations mark the beginning of a new era, columnist Pierre Haski comments on France Inter:

“On the agenda are the disarmament of the enclave and the reintegration of Nagorno-Karabakh into the territory of Azerbaijan. But on what terms, with what future for the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and with what guarantees? These are weighty questions, with the spectre of ethnic cleansing looming. But the geopolitical changes will not stop there. Given the anger of a section of the Armenian people, Pashinyan's power in Yerevan is no longer secure. ... A coup cannot be ruled out. Moreover, the question of Russia's influence in this new balance of power arises. ... The 24 hours of fighting have changed the situation in the Caucasus.”

Trouw (NL) /

Russia's power is crumbling

Azerbaijan's victory in Nagorno-Karabakh is also a consequence of the Ukraine war, Trouw puts in:

“Russia can't fight on several fronts due to the large-scale war in Ukraine, and it certainly doesn't want a conflict with Azerbaijan. As a consequence, the war in Ukraine is creating political and military instability along Russia's borders in the Caucasus and further into Asia. Russia can no longer impose its power on neighbouring countries. The cards are being reshuffled in this respect. But for bitterly poor Armenia, which is militarily and economically dependent on Russia, this doesn't apply.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

A pawn for many conflicting interests

The Tages-Anzeiger says it's clear that Azerbaijan acted with Erdoğan's backing:

“For Turkey, Azerbaijan is the gateway to the Caucasus; Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was already involved in negotiating the ceasefire three years ago. A corridor leading right through Armenia to the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan was also at issue back then. Armenia lies right between Azerbaijan and Turkey - it is in both countries' way. With the corridor, they would have a connection and Turkey would have access to the Caspian Sea via Azerbaijan. But Iran doesn't want the Turks to have this access because up to now Turkish transports to Central Asia have always passed through Iran. The chain of interests is endless.”

Sabah (TR) /

Moving on to the next stage

Azerbaijan can now set its sights on other regions, writes the pro-government Sabah:

“Karabakh is now officially recognised by Armenia as Azerbaijani territory. This is the second Karabakh victory in every sense. It is the complete solution to the problem. ... So first Nakhchivan and now Karabakh have been reunited with Azerbaijan. Now the focus will turn to Zangezur [the Armenian province separating Azerbaijan from its exclave Nakhchivan]. As long as the political resolve and military resilience remain firm, it seems inevitable, both in terms of the changing regional and global environment and geopolitical determinism, that Zangezur's century-long yearning for the motherland will soon come to an end.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Peace won't come on its own

Neatkarīgā analyses the global security situation against the backdrop of events in Nagorno-Karabakh and the war in Ukraine:

“No matter how reluctant the leaders of the Western world may be to admit it, the only chance to restore a stable peace in the world is for the West, first and foremost the United States, to demonstrate that it is still a power that wants to and can maintain order in the world. There is simply no other option. Peace will not come by itself. Without adult supervision, there will be no order in the kindergarten. The sooner the West shows who is in charge of maintaining order, the fewer sacrifices this will require.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Guarantee the population's safety

The world must do all it can to protect the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, De Volkskrant urges:

“Now the international parties - the EU, the US, but above all Turkey as an ally of Azerbaijani President Aliyev - must put as much pressure as possible on Azerbaijan to prevent the ethnic powder keg of Nagorno-Karabakh from exploding. An ethnic 'cleansing', or even genocide, must be prevented in the enclave. The safety of these citizens must now be the priority.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

Government in Yerevan in a precarious position

Tygodnik Powszechny looks to the future of Armenian PM Pashinyan:

“A second lost war over Nagorno-Karabakh could mean the end of Pashinyan's government - and political career. Armenia has long since tired of its role as hostage to Karabakh, but abandoning the region will earn Pashinyan accusations of treason. Even more so after another lost war. The exodus of Armenians from Karabakh will only add to the number of Pashinyan's enemies, who are ready to instigate a new street revolution [like in 2018], this time to push him off the throne.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Russia's revenge on the Armenians

Nagorno-Karabakh's swift defeat was only possible because Putin gave the green light, Večernji list suspects:

“Perhaps Pashinyan has realised that he will not get the help the US promised to him before and after the military exercise Eagle Partner 2023. ... This exercise, in the eyes of many experts, is the reason why Vladimir Putin gave Azerbaijan the go ahead to take the rest of the territory and thus punish the disobedient Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, who turned his back on Putin and moved too close to the US. ... The demonstrators gathered outside the Russian embassy in Yerevan to protest against Russia show that the Armenians are aware of this.” (RO) /

Dubious gas partner in Baku

The EU has clearly chosen the wrong energy partner in Azerbaijan, says

“The prospect of a new war in the Caucasus is a serious strategic and diplomatic setback for the EU, which has been courting Azerbaijan as an ally and alternative gas supplier to Russia. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen paid an official visit to Azerbaijan in July 2022 to lobby for an increase in natural gas exports. Describing the country as a 'trustworthy partner', she signed a memorandum with President Ilham Aliyev on closer economic cooperation, even though experts warned that Brussels was simply replacing one autocracy with another here.”

T24 (TR) /

Look at who benefits

We should take a closer look at whose interests are at stake here, warns T24:

“Azerbaijan is worried about the presence of a large number of armed Armenians in Karabakh. After 30 years of waiting, Baku doesn't want the problem to come to a standstill in its present form and remain unresolved for another 30 years. Baku will take full control of Nagorno-Karabakh, but whether peace will come to the region remains to be seen. There should be careful reflection on who will be most gratified by Baku's latest move, Pashinyan's loss of power and his being replaced with a more radical government, as well as the fact that the Caucasus can't achieve stability - and what risks are taken for short-term gains.”