22 July 2021
Despite the promise of diplomatic re-engagement, Azerbaijan’s failure to return all prisoners and Armenia’s lack of a coherent diplomatic strategy have contributed to an environment hardly conducive for the restart of negotiations. The conflict has been an important lesson for Armenia concerning the necessity of scenario planning and strategic vision for the coming years.
In an unprecedented period of vulnerability, the post-war reality has left Armenia stranded in unchartered territory. After the forced acceptance of a difficult decision, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan acceded on 10 November 2020 to a Russian-crafted and Russian-imposed agreement that effectively ended the six-week war for Karabakh and triggered the immediate deployment of some 2000 Russian peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh for an initial five-year mission.
Although the agreement consolidated significant territorial gains by Azerbaijan and introduced a cessation of fighting, it only affirmed Armenia’s stunning defeat.
While the acceptance of the agreement saved lives and salvaged the remaining territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the conflict remained unresolved with several outstanding questions, ranging from the status of Karabakh to the terms of the withdrawal and possible demobilization of the Karabakh armed forces, making further diplomatic negotiations essential to ensuring last security and stability.