Regional Stability in the South Caucasus

Report
7TH WORKSHOP OF THE PFP CONSORTIUM STUDY GROUP
"REGIONAL STABILITY IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS":
BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS:
STRENGTHENING THE EU AND NATO'S SOFT SECURITY
INITIATIVES
14-16 MARCH 2013, TBILISI (GEORGIA)
European Geopolitical Forum's Research on:
"A Pragmatic Review of Nagorno-Karabakh
Conflict Resolution: Could Economic Incentives
Help Break the Current Stalemate?"
Briefing by Mr. George Niculescu,
Head of Research, the European Geopolitical Forum-EGF, Brussels,
Director of Programs, Centre for East European and Asian Studies, Bucharest
THE FULL RESEARCH PAPER AVAILABLE ON
HTTP://GPF-EUROPE.COM/
BACKGROUND

A ‘political settlement’ will be hardly sufficient:

Economic incentives might be the most
appealing;

Little “light at the end of the tunnel” to
peaceful settlement;

Azerbaijani-Armenian negotiation process and
the wider relationship governed by a severe
lack of trust.

Confidence building measures and steps
towards conflict resolution are extremely
difficult to develop.
Key Questions Underlying the
Research:
1.
Could be brought to the
forefront
the
SouthCaucasus “pragmatism”?
2.
Would it be added value in
starting talk about “jumping
over the fire”?
The Aim and the Method


To test the idea of whether economic incentives could help break
the current deadlock over Nagorno-Karabakh.
A questionnaire submitted to local and international experts
inquiring on whether “a return of land for access to
infrastructure projects” could contribute towards breaking the
current stalemate.
The Overall Finding of the
Research:
Economic incentives, cannot, on their
own, substitute a political settlement
to the conflict, including its territorial
dimensions. However, they could play
a key role in confidence building.
Evidence supporting the
utility of economic incentives:






break the current economic isolation of NagornoKarabakh and Armenia;
provide economic benefits for Azerbaijan;
offer Nagorno-Karabakh with a broader range of
economic options and opportunities;
forge economic interdependencies which could
serve as ‘mutual security guarantees’;
a stronger basis for the economic and humanitarian
rehabilitation of the seven districts around NagornoKarabakh;
could turn the "zero-sum game" thinking into a "winwin" solution.
But also cautious views:





would not lessen Armenia’s position in calling for
recognition of the independence of NagornoKarabakh;
Armenian ‘hard liners’ would never accept a
territorial compromise;
"Lowland-Karabakh“ is the only place to safely
resettle 400,000 Armenian IDPs;
cross-border oil and gas pipeline projects hardly
viable from a financial perspective;
Russia might tacitly oppose, given its regional
economic and political interests.




How to use economic incentives in N-K
conflict management?
use economic incentives as a confidence
building measure. Need to synchronize them
with the work of the Minsk Group.
establishment of a Regional Development
Agency (RDA) in charge of preparing and
implementing regional projects;
examples of regional infrastructure projects
which could be open to Armenian
participation;
obstacles hindering possible Armenian
participation in regional infrastructure pilot
projects;
Conclusions

Starting a comprehensive dialogue on postconflict scenarios involving joint regional energy
and infrastructure projects;

possible topics for the agenda:
 joint rehabilitation of infrastructure both in
Nagorno-Karabakh and in the occupied
districts.
 priorities, joint management, sources of
funding, inter-operability of technical
standards and other challenges to planning
and implementing regional infrastructure
projects.
 how to help the process of resettlement of
IDPs and refugee communities?
The Potential Role of the EU and of
Other International Stakeholders:





Providing frameworks for dialogue;
Guaranteeing security and political aspects of economic
pilot projects and associated confidence building
measures;
Compelling both sides to take a more flexible and
constructive approach towards the conflict;
Focus creative energies on fostering regional economic
cooperation;
Bringing in experience from the Balkans on conflict
dissuasion and fostering economic cooperation;
THE NEXT EGF RESEARCH PROJECT?
“Economic incentives are a key element of a new
vision for peace in the South Caucasus reinforced
by comprehensive, integrated and sustainable
cooperation, which would ultimately enable free
movement of people, goods, services and capital
at the regional level, lead to economic integration
and the opening of all closed borders.“
 Is this vision feasible? How could it be
implemented?

DISCUSSION

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