In an unexpected turn of events, the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament has expressed optimism about a potential peace agreement with Azerbaijan, suggesting that the accord could be finalized within the next 15 days. This pronouncement symbolizes a significant shift in the long-standing strained relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, primarily due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Decades of Strife and the Prospect of Peace
The conflict, which escalated into full-scale war in the early 1990s and experienced a resurgence in 2020, has resulted in numerous casualties and displaced individuals on both sides. The potential peace treaty would seek to resolve the ongoing territorial disputes and establish an enduring peace in the region.
Both nations have been under immense international pressure to find a peaceful resolution, and this latest statement indicates a possible breakthrough in the negotiations. However, several sensitive issues remain to be addressed, including territorial claims, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, security guarantees, and the return of refugees and internally displaced persons.
The Role of the International Community
The international community, including organizations such as the OSCE Minsk Group, is anticipated to play a significant role in mediating and monitoring the implementation of any agreement reached. Recently, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with both Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, discussing the possibility of concluding a peace treaty between the two nations. The US has expressed its ongoing support for Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, along with efforts to increase bilateral cooperation.
Challenges and Skepticism
Despite the optimism, the road to peace is fraught with obstacles. Former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan expressed skepticism about Azerbaijan’s peace treaty proposal and the bilateral negotiations, emphasizing the need for a powerful mediator and expressing concerns about potential concessions leading to an uncertain future for Armenia. The delay by Armenia in responding to Azerbaijan's peace proposals, as mentioned by President Ilham Aliyev, has been seen as a misuse of the peace treaty text for prolonging negotiations.
As these developments unfold, the world watches with bated breath, hoping for a peaceful resolution to a conflict that has spanned decades and cost countless lives. The next 15 days could potentially usher in a new era of peace and stability in the region, underlining the importance of diplomacy and dialogue in resolving international conflicts.