Armenia and Azerbaijan are Finally Talking Directly. Is Peace Next?

Armenia and Azerbaijan are Finally Talking Directly. Is Peace Next?

Armenia and Azerbaijan's willingness to engage directly may suggest that the region is finally on the cusp of being ready for geopolitical prime time.


However, the foregoing does not necessarily mean that Baku and Yerevan have shut out foreign intermediaries from the peace process for good (except for France, whose exclusion from the normalization process Aliyev has explicitly indicated). As the text of the aforementioned joint statement indicates, this appears to be going in the right direction: “[we] share the view that there is a historical chance to achieve a long-awaited peace in the region. The two countries reconfirm their intention to normalize relations and to reach a peace treaty on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Rather, what it does suggest is that both Armenia and Azerbaijan seem to have reached a level of mutual trust and understanding whereby substantive progress on a treaty text is not predicated on the direct involvement of one or more outsiders, who, after all, can be expected to have distinct interests from those of the two sides themselves.

Even if occasional foreign help may still be required to get to the finish line (an announcement to that effect may, in fact, be imminent), there is now concrete evidence to suggest that Armenia and Azerbaijan have acquired the confidence necessary to engage with each other directly. Not only does this represent a welcome bilateral turning point, but it also bodes well for my argument that the South Caucasus and the rest of the Silk Road region may finally be on the cusp of being ready for geopolitical prime time.


At the end of the day, Armenia would not have yielded to Azerbaijan on hosting COP29 had Yerevan not assessed that a peace settlement is likely to be reached by the start of that global conference. This, in turn, suggests that the odds have never been higher that by this time next year (at the very latest), Armenia and Azerbaijan will have formally ended their enmity after more than 30 years of painful and costly military, political, and diplomatic confrontation. No one reasonable—no outside power, no special interest group, and no lobbying organization—ought to do anything other than fully support the historical breakthrough that is now on offer.

Damjan Krnjević Mišković is Professor of Practice at ADA University and Director for Policy Research, Analysis, and Publications at its Institute for Development and Diplomacy (IDD), where he serves as Co-Editor of Baku Dialogues. He is a former senior Serbian and UN official who previously served as Editor of Horizons and Managing Editor of The National Interest. He is also a member of the Board of Editors of Orbis and a Fellow at the Agora Strategy Institute. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.

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