The annual Munich Security Conference has traditionally been a venue for discussions on pressing security matters on the geopolitical agenda, and this year’s event promised to be no different.
The discussions at the Conference, which brought together world leaders, diplomats, and defense and security experts, have once again showed that Europe's growing vulnerability due to long-lasting conflicts in its territory.
The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the very conflict threatening the security of not only the South Caucasus region, but also the entire Europe. This was the message conveyed, if not confirmed, by President Ilham Aliyev, who attended the Munich Security Conference, sometimes referred to as the "Davos of Defense" or the "Munich Davos".
The conflict emerged three decades ago. This is not long in terms of history, but it is a considerable period for generations, which was forced to pass through the occupation of lands, ethnic cleansing and a number of other consequences of the war.
The conflict has brimmed and simmered for many years, but, the international community overstated it. Maybe the assessments of the conflict were pessimistic, due to which the situation is now even worse than one feared, as graver escalation could draw in powerful neighboring countries.
The policy of blindness and double standards pursued by the international community for years did not ease but only fan the conflict, while Armenia relying on its non-punishment staged political and military provocation each time there rose a hope for the peaceful resolution.
The Armenian side resorts to provocative actions, strongly violates the ceasefire regime on the contact line of troops, violates certain agreements reached in the settlement of the conflict, thus hampering peace talks. That targets provoking Baku and keeping the status-quo, which promise nothing good. The fragile peace in the region carries unpredictable consequences in the South Caucasus, as well as Europe, not least because oil and gas pipelines important to Europe’s energy security lie close to the Karabakh front line.
The renewed military actions have the potential to shatter the whole established security complex, particularly that of the Caucasus and that of Eastern Europe in general.
The Caucasus region has a population of more than 30 million and is very diverse politically, ethnically and religiously. Besides, apart from Nagorno-Karabakh, there are still zones of potential conflict in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the threat of extremism in the North Caucasus. Possible consequences include the involvement of regional powers - Russia, the EU, Turkey and Iran - and the escalation of conflicts from both the South and North Caucasus to Eastern Ukraine and Transnistria.
Europe should have long realize that the term frozen conflict used in regard to Nagorno-Karabakh is now more embracing that it used to be. This is a road to nowhere, resumption of the military escalation promises even larger causalities.
Bringing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the forefront of the discussion in Munich, President Aliyev once again drew the attention of the international community to the existence of double standards in the approach of some global players in this matter.
These superpowers show proper respect to the objectivism of a problem in some cases, while in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue somehow demonstrate a subjective approach. For example, although the UN Security Council resolutions, which stated the necessity of withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, have not been fulfilled, no sanctions have so far been imposed on Armenia. The country-aggressor did not face any pressure despite the fact that it seized the territory of another state.
President Aliyev emphasized that all the conflicts must be solved on the same principle, on the same approach, territorial integrity of every country must be respected, cannot be violated, and internationally recognized boundaries cannot be changed by force.
Highlighting all these important facts, the president stated that Azerbaijan will not allow the establishment of a second Armenian state on its territory, calling on the international community to act in accordance with the resolutions and norms of international law, instead pursuing a policy of double approach.
To find a peaceful solution to a generation-old conflict, it is vitally important to unify forces to solve this issue and work effectively, not just watch as events unfold there. The UNSC resolutions must be implemented in full and this is Baku’s stance on the issue. Being open to discussing various ideas, Baku, exclude any discussion on territorial integrity as it will bring chaos.
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