US News Dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan: What Germany could do in the Caucasus conflict

18:05  18 september  2020
18:05  18 september  2020 Source:   tagesspiegel.de

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The Foreign Office sees “increased willingness to talk” between Armenia and Azerbaijan - current announcements make the situation dangerous.

Ein armenischer Soldat beobachtet vor einigen Wochen im Grenzgebiet die Aserbaidschaner. © Armenian Defense Ministry Press Service / PAN Photo / AP / dpa A few weeks ago an Armenian soldier observed the Azerbaijanis in the border area.

The German government is cautiously optimistic about the Caucasus conflict - in July soldiers from both countries died on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

"Since 2018 and up to July 2020 there have been only a few ceasefire violations, and the number of deaths and injuries has also decreased," wrote the State Secretary in the Foreign Office, Miguel Berger, in a response at the request of the Left parliamentary group, which is available to the Tagesspiegel.

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Up to the July fights, the "relaxation process that had become noticeable and was characterized by an increased willingness to talk" continued.

"Germany could combine development aid with incentives"

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region belongs to Azerbaijan under international law, but is controlled by Armenians. In July 2020, Armenians and Azerbaijanis shot each other north of Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to the German government, five Armenian and twelve Azerbaijani soldiers and a civilian on each side were killed between July 12 and 15, 2020.

Germany is one of the most important producing countries in Armenia, since 1992 the Federal Republic has paid more than 750 million euros in development aid. For Armenia - with three million inhabitants - this is the highest per capita aid after the USA.

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"The federal government is far below its capabilities when it comes to the peace process," says Heiko Langner, the specialist author who works for the Left Group on the South Caucasus. "Germany could condition the allocation of its development funds to Armenia more strongly with peace policy incentives."

Armenians from Lebanon to Nagorno-Karabakh?

The parties to the conflict should also implement the Madrid basic principles negotiated in 2007: Armenia would have to withdraw from the towns around Nagorno-Karabakh so that Azerbaijani displaced persons can return. Interim status and a referendum are planned for the core area Nagorno-Karabakh itself.

Among Azerbaijanis, the announced settlement of Armenians from Lebanon is also considered a provocation. According to local media, Armenian government officials had invited Armenians living there to occupied Nagorno-Karabakh after the explosion in Beirut . Speaker Langner speaks of a "violation of international law which, according to all previous experiences, should also provoke unpeaceful reactions from Azerbaijan".

Armenian minorities are everywhere in the region - especially in Lebanon, but also in Syria, Iraq, Georgia and Russia. After the genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, hundreds of thousands fled, many to the United States. Turkey is regarded as the protecting power of Azerbaijan, Russia as the helper of Armenia.

Azerbaijan declares martial law, curfew in Baku .
© AFP PHOTO / ARMENIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY An image capture from a video made available on the official website of the Armenian Ministry of Defense on the 27th September, would show the destruction of Azeri military vehicles during clashes between Armenian separatists and Azerbaijan in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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