Editorial to Geostrategic Pulse 196 - Is it peace under the olive trees in Caucasus?

Is it peace under the olive trees in Caucasus?
Corneliu PIVARIU

Donald Tusk paid during the last third of July successive visits to Republic of Armenia, Georgia and Republic of Azerbaidjan where he had summit meetings. The visit has been considered a good opportunity to prove the will of the European Union to continue developping the close and differentiated relationship with its independent and sovereign partners  in the East.

In President Donald Tusk’ declaration  after meeting Armenia’s President, Serzh Sargsyan, the concern towards the negative tendencies in the evolutions in Nagorno-Karabakh was emphasized and the fact that peacefully solving the conflict remains a priority for the European Union which supports the negotiations in OSCE’s Minsk Group format. The EU supports also a direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaidjan, including at the highest level, underlying that strictly observing the cease fire (according to Azeri sources, in the last period there were more than 100 Armenian violations of the cease fire – the highest number of the last decade in a similar short period) together with renouncing any declarations or actions that may affect the advance of negotiations are important conditions.

President Serzh Sargsyan’s answer to one of the questions asked during the joint press conference, plenty of retorical questions addressed to his Azeri counterpart and to the leadership in Baku, was clearly suggesting that the road to reconciliation is a very long one. President Donal Tusk tried to smooth up the situation advocating that “undoubtedly there is no alternative to a peaceful solution” and that to this purpose “all  players (involved o.n.) should avoid aggressive words and rethoric since as it is known, rethoric and words have consequencies in politics and sometimes these consequences are dramatic. This is why I believe that sometimes silence is much more beneficial than words and particularly than an aggressive rethoric”.

During his visit to Baku and in his declarations with the Azeri President - Ilham Aliyev, President Tusk reiterated EU’s support for Azerbaidjan’s territorial integrity, independence and sovereignity stating that neither  EU nor the member state recognized Nagorno-Kararabakh as a state. He corroborated his declarations in Yerevan by saying that “the status quo is unsustainable and a peaceful solution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh remains a EU’s priority. We continue supporting the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group’s vicepresidents”.

The EU – Azeri relationship has a particular importance from the economic standpoint mainly as far as securing the diversification of natural gas supplying  of the EU, as Baku is the main strategic partner to this end.  The two sides agreed to cooperate closely in order to accomplish the “Southern Gas Corridor” – a project to the benefit of both sides – and to do whatever it takes so that it is achieved in time, no matter what the competitors would do.

The EU is already Azerbaidjan’s main trade partner President Tusk declared and mentioned the desire of further developping this relationship in the future stressing that the good governance and observing the legislation are important for creating a favourable commercial and investment climate. To that end, the two sides discussed the possibility of concluding a  “new ambitious bilateral agreement”, to be materialized in a Strategic Partnership Agreement.

In his declarations in Georgia after meeting the President Giorgi Margelashvili and prime minister Irakli Garibashvili, President Tusk underlined Georgia’s position as a close associate partner of the EU. The Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia was concluded one year and a few weeks before this visit and this Agreement “will play an essential role in deepening our cooperation in the future”. President Tusk reassured that the EU “supports Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The so-called  “Treaties” recently concluded between Russia and Abkhazia and South  Ossetia violate Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignity. They contradict the principles of international law as well as Russia’s international committments”. Placing new demarcation signs is a clear provocation and cannot help the advance of the efforts of stabilizing the situation.

Therefore, all these developments make us conclude that under the olive trees of Caucasus peace is still far to be within the glimpse.
 

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back Published in 2015-08-05 Print Download up