A webinar on "New Realities in the South Caucasus: Prospects and Challenges" was held

2021-03-05 11:48

A webinar on "New Realities in the South Caucasus: Prospects and Challenges" was organized by the Center of Analysis of International Relations on March 4 with the aim of discussing President Ilham Aliyev's press conference for local and foreign media. The moderator of the event, Chairman of the AIR Center, Farid Shafiyev, said that the geopolitical situation in the region has changed after the Second Karabakh War and new trends are emerging. He mentioned how a few days ago, during a press conference for local and foreign journalists, President Ilham Aliyev shared his views on new realities and new opportunities.

Former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and a senior researcher at the Atlantic Council Matthew Bryza spoke about his experience as co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and said that the Madrid Principles on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict have long been on the table. According to him, this document existed until November 10 last year and in fact benefited Armenia. The former ambassador said that now the November 10 statement should be the basis for lasting peace. Matthew Bryza also said that the new situation in the region will open new opportunities for East-West energy transport and other regional projects: "New projects establish very tangible ways to reintegrate Armenia into the regional economy."

Stanislav Pritchin, a senior researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the world was witnessing historical days in the region and that for the first time since the Soviet era it could overcome the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: “Of course there are a lot of obstacles and challenges. Domestic political risks in Armenia are a possible challenge for the ceasefire. Problems still exist, but no one wants to return to war. Everyone except Armenia knows that the opening of borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, economic reintegration is the most realistic scenario for Armenia. At present, a stable form of Turkish-Russian cooperation has emerged”.

Speaking next, Robert Cutler, a researcher at the Canadian Institute of Global Affairs, said that last week was the anniversary of the Khojaly genocide and that the tragedy plays an important role in solving the current problems. According to him, the responsibility of Kocharyan and Sargsyan in the tragedy is known, and Khojaly casts a shadow over the current problems of Armenia. He added that removing the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh's status from the agenda could create practical peace: “Armenia's failure to provide mine maps is a war crime. Armenian-Azerbaijani cooperation is necessary for long-term peace.”

Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences of Kadir Has University in Turkey Mithat Celikpala said that new conditions for cooperation in the region have been created, adding that there is trilateral cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia which Armenia can also join. According to him, the Minsk Group, especially France, has lost its legitimacy for Azerbaijan as a co-chair country: “A new dialogue must be established between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Revanchist behavior in Armenia can undermine all the potential in the region and damage the regional projects."