On the Caucasus Stability Pact Initiatives


by Hayk Simonian
(The author is a freelance contributor to ICHD)

In spring 2000 the Center for European Political Studies introduced the Caucasus stability pact project, which was presented as to the South Caucasus leaders, international organizations (e.g., OSCE) and different conferences, as well as to a wider public discussions, as it was placed in the Center's web-cite. www.ceps.be

The aim of our research is the utmost concentration on its flaws in comparison with the other initiatives and already operating similar international regimes.

Unlike the reported political diplomatic debates of 2000 the version suggested by CEPS is positioned in a public domain. Therefore, it is considered to be the second, public track of this significant initiative and is destined to assist the search of stability model by the South Caucasus leaders, thus giving it more democratic spirit and creating a softening the atmosphere and allowing to involve in this process the academics and NGOs as well.

Let's observe the positions of the actors involved in and try to compare them:

Approaches of Armenia

The President of Armenia Robert Kocharian referred to this subject in his speech delivered at the OSCE Istanbul Summit, November 19, 1999:

The Caucasus has always been an utterly complex and explosive region due to its ethnic complexities, religious diversity, severe historical past and the multiplicity of overlapping interests. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the adjustments to new realities continue to take place. The present treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe does not appear to be sufficient in resolving the existing security problems in our sensitive and complex region. It is therefore necessary to devise a regional security system for the South Caucasus, in the wider system of pan European security, which will engage all the parties concerned and primarily those in the region itself. Today, it is our collective challenge to transform the Caucasus from a region of conflicting armies and senseless terrorism to an economic crossroad of peace and prosperity.

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan has constantly referred to the essence of this basic problem. Thus far on March 15, 1999 at the Royal Institute of International affaires at Chatham House, London, referring to the existing challenges in the Region, the Minister said:

... In addition, there is the absence of an all-encompassing regional organization that includes all the countries in the region, particularly the major ones that can enable us to discuss our issues and work on consensus building. This will certainly help promote the stability in the region.

Neither CIS, nor OSE, nor BSEC, nor ECO provide a venue of a general forum for all the major actors in the Region to discuss the existing vital problems. The scheme suggested by Armenia comprises all the countries having a significant role and influence in the South Caucasus region.

In his Address to the Georgian Parliament, March 29, 2000, President Kocharian introduced the approaches of Armenia in details:

In our opinion the future collective security system is destined to be effective if it will truly have comprehensive features. That should be a kind of system that does not deny involvement of any State having a direct influence on the Region. From this standpoint the "3+3+2" formula has been offered implying three South Caucasus countries, the neighboring countries: Russia, Turkey, Iran, as well as the European Community and the United States.

[Two paragraphs omitted: on the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict and the dialogue of the Armenian and Azeri Presidents, and importance of democratic Russia's involvement into stabilization process in the South Caucasus.]

Thus, summarizing the foresaid, today we can already describe the main contours of the future system destined to establish durable stability in the South Caucasus and contribute to its far-reaching development. The system should include first of all complex of economic cooperation issues and interactions within the process of economic transformations. Secondly, the principles of the democratic values' commonness and reforms towards it should be substantially reinforced. Thirdly, the processes of conflict and confrontation resolution within the Region should be consolidated through the mechanisms of complex and all-encompassing security measures.

Afterwards, the official Yerevan supported the Russian initiative of the "Caucasus Four". However, considering the statements of Armenian high-ranking politicians, Yerevan has not abandoned its initiative, which implied the possibility of future conversion of the "Four" into more inclusive and comprehensive format.

Approaches of Azerbaijan 

President Aliev also expressed the idea of the Pact in his speech delivered at the OSCE Istanbul summit in November 1999, but neither at that time nor in future Azerbaijani diplomats took steps towards its realization.

Promptly responding to the Armenian initiative articulated in the Georgian Parliament the Azeri Foreign Minister Guliev interpreted the approach of President Kocharyan as an "Armenian-centered".

Afterwards, the official Baku was continuously acting solely as a responder, always rejecting any proposals coming from Yerevan and developing the idea of "anti-Russian orientation" repeatedly appearing in the Western press. However, President Aliev didn't resist and agreed to participate in the meeting of the "Caucasus Four" in Moscow, June 2000.

Approaches of Georgia

In 1996 President Shevardnadze announced the initiative for "Peaceful Caucasus" undertaking responsibilities inapplicable for Georgia. It was the consequent of global approaches of the former Soviet Foreign Minister was not doable in the terms of less than 1.5-2 years later of the brokered cease-fires in the South Caucasus.

From the end of 1999 Georgia embarked on an evasive policy, stating its willingness to support all the initiatives, but not taking a definite position on a possible system of cooperation and stability in the South Caucasus region. Overusing Shevardnadze's international reputation of Perestroyka's Foreign Minister, the official Tbilisi has continued to solicit foreign aid, which was substantiated by a necessity of assistance to the withdrawal of the Russian military bases and was spiced by declarations of the "Atlantic, i.e., anti-Russian orientation" easily comprehended by the western mass-media.

Simultaneously, President Shevardnadze participated in the meeting of the "Caucasus Four" in Moscow, June 2000.

Approaches of Russia

Subsequent to the President Kocharian's speech delivered in Tbilisi, the official Moscow adhered to a position that may be described as disapproving and intolerable. Nobody publicly opposed to it, there were just some references to the "Kislovodsk process" with its 3+1(Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia) formula.

It seems that the Moscow's standpoint was articulated in the article signed by the President of North Ossetia-Alania Aleksandr Dzasokhov (Nesavisimaya Gazeta, April 7, 2000), which was an indirect semiofficial reply to the President Kocharyan's speech in Tbilisi. The initiatives taken were simply qualified as anti-Russian, and the instigations of the South Caucasus leaders were elucidated by malevolence or naivety. The 4+2 formula was suggested (Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia + Iran, Turkey as a "second echelon"). In fact it was a suggestion to leave out the European Union and the USA.

Nevertheless, Moscow went beyond of the references to the "Kislovodsk process" and took political measures trying to give birth to the initiative of the "Caucasus Four", and organized the Kocharyan-Aliev-Shevardnadze-Putin meeting in Moscow, June 2000.

Approaches of Turkey

At the beginning of 2000 Turkish President Demirel also put forward the initiative of the Caucasus Stability Pact underlining the 3+2+2 formula (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia + Turkey, Russia + European Union and USA). The system proposed should have been formed in the framework of the OSCE thus excluding such an important actor as Iran is, and minimizing including the role of Russia in it.

Subsequent to President Demirel's fulfillment of the tenure in office, the official Ankara was demonstrating an underlined cool approach towards this initiative, which absolutely has not reflected its policy in the South Caucasus (excluding Armenia) and Central Asia.

Approaches of Iran 

Iran has also showed interest towards the Stability Pact initiatives, particularly considering conferences devoted to the Caucasus and Central Asia held in Tehran since the end of 1999. Representatives of governmental circles, as well as academicians and NGOs were invited to participate in those Summits. Taking into account the nature of the political regime in Iran, it may be unambiguously considered as an interest, hence the common belief, that Iran is isolated in this matter, is unreasonable.

Nevertheless, as in the others, as well as in this case Tehran is acting as a alarming opponent of the U.S., whose penetration into the region is declared as an undesirable. The existing status quo in the Caucasus with the emphasized influence of Russia is satisfactory for Iranians from two main standpoints: their ensured presence in the Caucasus and Central Asia and their ensured role in the discussions on Caspian Sea legal status. These inclinations have perhaps internal political reasoning too, as reportedly there are some disagreements between "reformers" and "conservatives" over the tactics of anti-American Policy. Meanwhile, it is possible, that the religious ties connecting the ethnical groups within this state will be severed, as a result of political winds blowing from the Caucasus.

Approaches of the European Union

None of the influential Powers within European Union has demonstrated any definite disposition yet. The only exception is the statement of the German Foreign Minister Fisher on July 4, 2000 referring to the necessity of the Stability Pact for the South Caucasus. It is remarkable that it was released by Reuters with reference to the CEPS project; therefore, it may be interpreted as a basis for discussing this actor's approaches.

The CEPS project is similar to the Armenian version regarding the number of participants, but there is a structural difference. The Troyka of South Caucasus Dimension is complemented with the Troyka of Northern Dimension with the leadership of EU and Russia and the USA following them on. The formula is closed up by Southern Dimension, that is represented by neighboring Iran and Turkey. From the beginning of the process corresponding measures should be taken to establish a Black Sea-Caucasus-Caspian Sea Stability zone.

The mission of the Northern Dimension Actors is the assistance to the Parties and leadership for the regional conflicts' comprehensive resolution. It would mean establishment of a proper modus vivendi in the region, carried out by the Powers and directed to legitimization and harmonization of the interests. The CEPS proposal hinted at this end, but did not elaborate it. However, there is no any - besides of slogans - device in it to stimulate actors involved in to transform their policies from the national interests' paradigm typical for the 19th century into the integration tendencies characteristic for the 21st century.

Project comprises a valuable clause due to which the short-term preference first of all is given to the security arrangements. Secondly, it is aimed at the economic integration of the South Caucasus nations, with a long-term aim of the joining to the European political standards and, maybe, institutions. Nevertheless, the document is rather scarce from the standpoint of the military-political guarantees as distinct from the very well developed (upon European models) clauses of regional cooperation and the government decentralization (particularly, for Nagorno Karabakh and Abkhazian conflicts resolution). The project without detailing supposes accomplishment of security measures within OSCE framework, thus automatically leaving out Iran.

Approaches of the USA

Since the end of 1999 none of the U.S. high-ranking politicians has demonstrated disposition towards the possibility of establishment of the comprehensive stability system for the Caucasus. The Washington acted in the favor of the regional conflicts' prompt resolution and strengthening of the Newly Independent States of the region, particularly trough considerable financial support and elaboration of the alternative export roots for the Caspian vast hydrocarbon resources.

Voluntarily or not, the United States took on the leadership in the post-Cold War world assuming numerous responsibilities on global and regional levels. The Caucasus region also didn't slip the attention of Washington: in the middle of 1990's President Clinton declared it a "zone of the U.S. vital interests".

For comprehension of the USA inclinations it is indispensable to be aware of the certain limits in the stand taken by Washington. The USA is striving to push forward its interests and interests of its allies, thus restricting the monopolistic influence of Russia. As a proof can serve the leading role of Armenia and Georgia in the amount of aid per capita provided by the USA, as well as affected participation of the Clinton's administration in the oil programs. Simultaneously, it should be mentioned that at least in this stage it is the utmost involvement into the regional affaires, when undertaking of any security commitment is excluded. However, the presidential elections in 2000 and the anticipated alteration of the administration in 2001 may give rise to considerable changes to the approaches of Washington.

Moreover, Nagorno Karabakh peace process shows that Washington will never challenge Moscow, using the OSCE Minsk group as a venue for creating an illusion of cooperation and softening the atmosphere of contradictions in the other domains (particularly in the sphere of strategic balance).

Though the opposition of Iran against the USA is obvious, the South Caucasus is considered to be a floor for possible cooperation too. The U.S. State Secretary Albright in her speech delivered during the session of the American-Iranian Council in the school of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, March 17, 2000, pointed out the "encouragement of stable relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan" as "one of the common interests [of the USA and Iran]".

Approaches of the other Powers

Among the actors having their interests in this Region first of all should be mentioned the main powers of the Southern and Eastern Asia, i.e. India, Japan and China.

India and Japan avoid showing an apparent positions towards the South Caucasian conflicts. By the same token, rapidly growing Japanese economy, as well as India with its constantly increasing population should attempt to ensure their entrance into the Caspian-Central Asian region, as well as take the opportunity of consuming its vast energy resources. For both of them this zone is more available (in the sense of the space), then the Persian Gulf or the other significant regions famous with their hydrocarbon reserves (in the case of Japan with the exclusion of Siberia).

The case of China is different: over 1 billion population, needs of the growing economy, contiguity of the Central Asia, as well as ambiguous cooperative-competitive triangular relations with Russia and the USA are the factors, that unavoidably bring the interests of the Beijing to the Southern regions of the former USSR.

Moreover, in the first half of 2000 the shift of the Chinese interests in the Caucasus has been outlined. The Chinese Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the Parliamentary elections of 2000 in Nagorny Karabakh, the Speaker of the Chinese Parliament Li Pen paid an offical visit to Baku, and the issue of the construction of Kars-Tbilisi railway was discussed during the bilateral negotiations conducted in the framework of the official visit of the President of China Jan Zemin to Turkey (as reported by Hyuriet April 20, 2000). Would it be possible, it will diminish and alienate the strategic importance of Kars-Gyumri railway and blockade of Armenia will assume a character of absolute regional isolation.

* * * 

The main obstacle for the South Caucasus integration is not the lack of historical experience, but it's strongly negative nature. For centuries the region has been a territory of ongoing contentions between the Powers, such as Iran and Rome/Byzantium, Byzantium and Arabic Caliphate, Iran and Ottoman Empire with intervention of Russia promptly extruding Iran. During the whole 19th century the Eastern Question had been performed on the political stage as the problem of Ottoman Empire, the Sick man of Europe with the Russian Empire striving to expand to the South, also through the Caucasus. In this environment all the common structures in the Caucasus have been enforced being established under external pressure with absolute neglect of the local actors.

The Office of the Caucasus Viceroy (end of 18th ' 19th centuries) was determined to spread the Russian predominance in the Region and expand its borders to the South. Following the World War I and two Russian revolutions of 1917 the misgoverning structures of OZAKOM, Trans-Caucasus Special committee (March-November 1917), Trans-Caucasus Commisariat (November 1917-March 1918) and Trans-Caucasus Seym (February-March) had led to the declaration of the independence of Trans-Caucasus in April 1918 and created favorable conditions for the break-up of Russian Empire and the collapse of the World War I Russian-Turkish front-line. The first Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia declared in May 1918 were similarly ineffective.

The Soviet Union formed in the 20th century created a new state ideology, being based on the interests of the Worldwide Revolution instead of the concept of interests of a Monarch and/or a Nation. But the declared "honest" aims and their fierce nature did not result in alterations of the imperialist means, but brought to their unfair and brutal consumption.

The essence of the Trans-Caucasus Soviet Republics' Federation of 1922-1937 reminds the Caucasus viceroy's mission. But the issue of national self-consciousness was a serious hindrance even for the creators and servants of the totalitarian system. During 15 years of its existence the Trans-Caucasus Federation carried out its mission in the South Caucasus to establish a totalitarian Communist system, gradually reinforcing the pressure from NEP to the Collectivization and Industrialization. According to the principle "divide and rule" the Soviet Socialistic Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia were formed with a strongly limited educational-cultural self-government and explosive administrative borders. The system being formed the Trans-Caucasus Federation means faced no considerable changes and lasted till the collapse of the Soviet Union.

With the end of the Cold War the bipolar system of the International stability falled down, as the Communist system accepted its weakness and defeat as a result of Perestroyka. Nevertheless, denouncement of the Warsaw Pact didn't cause NATO destruction, but, on the contrary, convinced its members in absolute fairness of their inclinations.

Today, in the contrary to the 40 years subsequent to the World War II, it seems that the representatives of two camps have traded their places. Finlandization (a geopolitical term that formulate the influence of a stronger Power on the neighboring countries, formed through the use of indirect means; based on the experience of the Soviet-Finland relationships) always being considered as a headache for the Atlantic strategists, today, is a hindrance for the Russian military's Chiefs-of-Stuff.

NATO-ization of the post-Communist Central Europe from the middle of the 90's has a nonreversible nature, instead of the Finlandization previously suggested by Moscow. NATO Partnership for Peace Program and active engagement of the NATO countries in the processes going on in Ukraine and other post-Soviet Newly Independent States, create favorable conditions for Finlandization of the so-called "Near Abroad" of Russia. That in turn causes the jealousy of Moscow with an alarming awareness of threat to an unidentified post-Imperial interests.

In these conditions the declarations of the Azerbaijani and Georgian leaders about their willingness to join NATO will never get direct positive response from Brusseles, simultaneously being encouraged by other means. Thus, Finlandization of the South Caucasus will turn to be the zone of possible agreement, which the Atlantic allies will try to sell Moscow as the best solution through reciprocal concession.

Today the three South Caucasus States (despite their capabilities) are entering into a game, the other participants of which have disproportionate excess of any resources. The slogans of transformation of the 19th century's Realpolitik into the 21st century of integration are not enough for hammering out the deal. Only in conditions of the formulated political will of the South Caucasus Nations and joint kind of coercive actions of the actors having considerable influence in the Region it may be possible to engender a stability system, even though there are suspicions considering its efficiency.

Such a mission can be accomplished only by the Powers of Northern Dimension, i.e., Russia, EU and the U.S. creating a particular modus vivendi for the Region ("rationale balance of trade-offs and pay-off" - as it is in the CEPS proposal).

The deal in the Caucasus may be accomplished provided that EU and the U.S. accept Russian absolute military-political predominance in the South Caucasus. They will be offered an opportunity to participate in the exploitation of the Caspian-Central Asian natural resources through investments. It may comprise elements of a geopolitical condominium assuming limited participation of the Atlantic allies. Certainly, in this case all the talks over Finlandization will be meaningless.

The attempt of the Stability Pact for the Balkans in 1999, signed during Eosovo crisis, was bound by predominance of NATO through military-political intervention during collapse of Yugoslavia in the 90's, is a real proof of this version. But, as we have already mentioned reviewing the U.S. approaches, not only the United States', but as well as the European Union engagement in the South Caucasus is restricted. The sensible evaluation shows that those Powers are not ready to apply to the Balkans scenarios in the South Caucasus in either positive or negative terms.

In this debates on macro-political level upon the South Caucasus region (we may also remember the vocabulary of the 19th century in the Great Game played by the Great Powers for the Heartland of the Central Asia) the Russian peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo, limited in number and placed under the command of NATO, could be considered as a useful analogue, that allows to assume the possibility of a contrary scenario in this region. It means, that by the precedent the possibility of NATO's restricted positive involvement in the Caucasus may not be excluded. Here also all the actors will encounter a new obstacle: will that mean in reality the legitimization of Turkish intentions of military presence in the Region through NATO, which in its turn will naturally cause objections from Armenia and Russia?

Meanwhile, the scenario of reestablishment of the Russian absolute superiority in the region is strongly undesirable for two other actors of the Northern Dimension. It is available only in case of intense tension of the regional situation, but not in the conditions of the conflicts management in the terms of ceasefire, that all-in-all corresponds to the interests of EU and USA).

In the beginning of 1990's the South Caucasus nations entered into the international politics as a Balkanized region of infinite fragmentation into independent and quasi-independent centers of power hostile to each other. It was immediately interpreted from the standpoint of "Moscow's hand" not wanting to lose its influence in the Region. However, it should be mentioned, that the endeavors of international community to localize and to manage through the cease-fire regimes the complicated conflicts in Nagorno Karabakh and Abkhazia, Russia has played a leading and a decisive role. In the second half of the 1990's a fragile balance of power in the region had been achieved.

All the debates upon Nation-building in the post-Soviet multi-ethnic Balkanized region carry a formal character. The best proof of it is the history of the South Caucasus Newly Independent States for the last ten years. Here is another scenario might be considered which may be called a Geopolitical nightmare.

For people searching Caucasus on the World map and discussing its problems with that kind of expertise the level of the current situation of conflict management should be observed as a line beyond of which there won't be a regional fragmentation. But the Caucasus peoples' local-communal thinking and the severe social conditions create a basis for internal instability that may be consequently turned into serious conflicts, as it was in Tajikistan. The regional disintegration would change its character from Balkanization to Lebanonization equivalent to the fighting between uncountable and uncontrolled units.

In this regard the situation in Georgia is highly explosive, as there are several regions difficultly controlled by the government. The agreement coined during the OSCE Istanbul Summit on the withdrawal of the Russian military bases from Georgia due in 2000-2001, thus reducing Moscow's influence in the region, will be the best conducive to the aforementioned scenario. Reestablishment of the Tbilisi's sovereignty on a part of the Georgian territory is indeed a positive attempt, but there are negative consequences that shouldn't be neglected. It may give rise to unmanageable developments not only in such regions of military bases' allocation as Javakhq and Ajaria are, which will be afterwards deprived of considerable financial means, but as well as in such regions hard to govern as Megrelia and Svanetia are, where the amount of weapons in turnover is rather large.

Unmanageable crisis caused by the collapse of the central government may be the context for the intervention of the democratic Russia, possessing on the U.N. or OSCE mandate, as the sole power able to control and stabilize this "wild" region. To prevent the developments by this scenario (as the events of 1994-95 showed Azerbaijan, and even ethnically the most unified Armenia might face this challenge) the effective implementation of economic and social reforms has a prior significance. It is necessary to ensure the controlled supply of supportive financial means from donors and through it the three South Caucasus countries' equal encouragement.

All the arguments listed above prove, that in discussions over the Caucasus Stability Pact initiatives every party will strive to protect its own interests even discounting other actors. Azeri Foreign Minister's "Armenian-centered" appraisal of the proposal made from Yerevan is unique by its straightforwardness, and may be an exceptional indicator of NIS's external-political roams and hesitations.

It fist of all means pushing away the unpredictable zones of instability by all means, even at the expense of others' interests. Moscow has adopted an approach towards Caucasus similar the model of the U.S.-Caribbean relationships and considering the Region as a zone of its own exceptional interests, more precisely, sphere of influence (Yalta, 1945 Style).

With predominance of such egocentric attitudes, Armenian security concerns about Turkey would get a secondary importance, transforming the region into a Cordon Sanitaire preventing any move towards the Russian South. Thus, the sovereignty of the three South Caucasus nations would be diminished to the buffer states status, when freedom of their actions will become the direct function of their powerful neighbor's security requirements'.

In this regard in the proposals forwarded by CEPS and others, the problems of Southern Dimension are insufficient. If in case of Turkey it is possible to anticipate a positive attitude to the European integration mechanisms, then the approaches of Iran may be observed as unpredictable. The obstacles are not only of a psychological and value nature. The Turkish Kurdistan is the region bordering the South Caucasus, zone of guerilla war for the last 20 years, where dominates strictly different from Istanbul and Ankara environment of human rights protection. The second region is the Iranian Azerbaijan, which is currently rather stable being under the power of Islamic autocracy, but at any moment may be turned into a Turkic "gunpowder barrel" that has been ruled by the Iranian minority.

From the standpoint of Armenia (Azerbaijan should have the similar concerns) the most undesired thing is the possibility to develop any military-political system between the region and the neighboring countries only in the OSCE framework. This will ensure withdrawal of Iran from the process, as well as Armenia's and Azerbaijan's attachment to the OSCE common frontier becoming a hard burden for both nations.

With this regard the perspectives of Black Sea-Caucasus-Caspian Sea-Central Asia cooperation axis development will be highly encouraged. Creation of an independent military-political stability system, similar to the CFE Treaty, conducted within the OSCE framework, will be in the scope of both Armenia's and Azerbaijan's interests.

The global concerns on the Caucasus stability pact projects are not less important. The Northern Dimension of European Union-Russia-USA suggested by CEPS would be able to undertake a leading role not only through appropriating their value systems (it was somehow carried out during the late 1980's and 1990's through OSCE and EAPC), but also reaching to an agreement on their visions of global developments.

During the Cold War the Chinese ideologists forwarded the Rich North versus Poor South Confrontation concept, due to which the main conflicts should be expected on that allotment. Black Sea-Caucasus-Caspian Sea-Central Asia linkage is a possible transition zone, the last component of which is rich with natural resources, therefore it's desirable for everyone. It's also a factor encouraging development of tension. As the history of the 20th century shows, strive for possessing natural resources played a decisive role in the process of causing the both of World Wars.

In these terms development of integration processes both horizontally and vertically gets prior significance for the Northern Dimension. Russia, European Union and USA have ambitions typical for Superpowers, but they are not equivalent to their real capacities, particularly in case of Russia.

Developments of 1990's prove that only USA could paralleled improve not only the vertical but the horizontal integration tendencies as well. It was also proved by NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and Washington's undertakings in South American direction. In case of European Union, regardless the integration experience, disagreements, sprung out from the Nation-state classic ideology, have such a profound nature, that prevented from settlement of the crisis causing Yugoslavia collapse, and the formal development projects of Mediterranean cooperation restricted the ambitions towards the South.


The 1990's for the South Caucasus nations were gained with an exceptional opportunity of regenerating of their countries. As for them and as well as for the other actors creation of a regional stability and security comprehensive system is the imperative of our days. But the geopolitical matters, value systems and mismatch of different interests within the region and around it are serious obstacles for expansion and development of this kind of initiatives.

The large-scale discussion of Stability Pact idea itself can smooth the unhealthy environment within the region and serve as a unique protection for withstanding new crises. It can also foster development of such a comprehension that will strengthen the stability and control of the existing confrontations in the South Caucasus.

Nevertheless, this positive influence may be considered as the most available in the current situation. The geopolitical analysis of the current situation brings to a conclusion that in conditions of opposition and interests' mismatch, ceasefire and management of the existing conflicts may be regarded as the main goal of the South Caucasus Nations in the first decade of the 21st century.

The ICHD would like to thank Mr. Michael Emerson from the Centre for European Political Studies, Brussels, for his valuable notes and comments on this paper



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