Opinion: The South Caucasus - from "balance of power" to "balance of interests"

For decades, relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan were seen from a false balance of power prism, that in the end failed miserably, and for Armenia, disastrously. 

Since November 2020 the question of what comes next has dominated the political discourse in the region. Some think the solution is a return to a balance of power approach, but given the current realities this sounds more like wishful thinking. The future of the region is not balance of power, but balance of interests. This means that both sides engage and co-operate with each other, simply because it is in their interest to do so. The arguments for such an approach are strong, even if they have not yet been convincingly made to the populations at large.

But first the loose ends from the 2020 war need to be tied up. The Jus post bellum framework has yet to be worked out. Signing a comprehensive peace treaty before the end of the year, as some insist is possible, is unlikely. But signing a peace document by the end of the year is possible. A "Prague Plus", may be a general document that builds on what has been discussed and agreed in Prague on 7 October 2022, and in other already agreed texts. It also means that after its signing negotiations will have to continue very intensively. These are likely to be in two tracks – the main track between Baku and Yerevan, and a secondary parallel track between Baku and Stepanakert.

"It is disingenious to ask what comes first, whether it is peace or a peace treaty, for both depend on each other. For the South Caucasus the next days and weeks will be crucial and it is time for everyone to up their game", writes Dennis Sammut in this Monday Commentary on commonspace.eu

read it here