Turkish and Azerbaijani officials have defused a simmering bilateral dispute concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, jointly endorsing a "gradual approach" on a negotiated settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The announcement came amid new international efforts to jump-start the peace process.
International mediators and political analysts expected the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process to accelerate once Azerbaijan completed a transfer of power from former leader Heidar Aliyev to his son Ilham. The dynastic transition of authority occurred as expected, but Karabakh developments have not gone as many envisioned.
Less than a week after former Azerbaijani president Heidar Aliyev died in the United States, representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia met in Scotland to discuss the ongoing conflict that shaped much of Aliyev's legacy.
Tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan is again flaring over Nagorno-Karabakh. Numerous ceasefire violations have been reported in July, with both sides accusing the other of stoking external conflict in order to divert attention from domestic political difficulties.
On February 20, 1988, the local assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh issued a stunning, plainly-worded resolution that called for the transfer of their autonomous region from the republic of Azerbaijan to the republic of Armenia.
The OSCE-sponsored effort to promote a political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is stalemated, with Armenian and Azerbaijani officials engaging in mutual recrimination over the breakdown in negotiations. Given the economic possibilities, especially in the oil and gas sector, the inability of Armenia and Azerbaijan to reach an agreement is seriously damaging development efforts.
In reality the road stretched only a few hundred meters, but it seemed as if it spanned two separate worlds. In traveling this route, Carey Cavanaugh, Philippe de Suramaen and Nikolai Gribkov - three mediators in ongoing talks in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - hoped to underscore the potential for a settlement.