Will there be peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

The dispute over the status of Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan has been going on for more than 30 years. During the USSR, Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous oblast within the Azerbaijan SSR. During Gorbachev’s perestroika, Karabakh Armenians began campaigning for the reunification of Nagorno-Karabakh to the Armenian SSR. A wave has begun between the two nations. At the end of the Soviet era, a dispute broke out over the status of the NKAO, which resulted in interethnic clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

In the late 80s, Azerbaijanis in Armenia faced difficulties, harassment and persecution. Azerbaijanis gradually began to be forced out of the Armenian SSR. In the early 1988’s, the first refugees arrived in the Azerbaijan SSR. All left the Armenian SSR before 1991.

After the collapse of the USSR, the conflict escalated into a full-scale war that lasted 3 years. Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 adjacent districts were occupied by Armenia after the end of the war in 1994.


Skirmishes between the countries continued after 1994. At the beginning of 2016, when concrete plans to resolve the conflict were discussed, military provocations, popularly known as the April war or the Four-day war, began again. Important strategic territories were returned to Azerbaijan. During 2016, substantive discussions took place between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia at meetings in Vienna and St. Petersburg, but due to the unconstructive position of Armenia, no progress was made in resolving the conflict at these meetings either.

Second Karabakh war

In 2020, a new round of conflict broke out, which resulted in a large-scale war. Both states accused each other of provocations. Azerbaijan and Armenia declared martial law and partial mobilization There were casualties on both sides, both among the military and among civilians. On November 10, 2020, the “Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and the President of the Russian Federation” was adopted, and Armenia signed an act of surrender. Thus, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict was ended, and Azerbaijan restored its territorial integrity. Azerbaijan regained control of most of its territory.

Further development

Despite the efforts of countries, skirmishes still happen even 2 years after the end of the war. The Azerbaijani-Armenian border crisis is still ongoing. The reasons for the continuation of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: the lack of a peace treaty and the lack of delimitation of the border.

There have been changes in the Russian structure of post-war events, the most important of which is the actions of the Armenian leadership. The Russian vision was based on the unresolved situation in Karabakh, with the parallel implementation of unblocking, the beginning of the border process. Everywhere the decisive word had to belong to the Russian mediation.

However, over these two years, Azerbaijan, and more recently Armenia, has taken a number of actions that have led to the fact that Russia must respond with all the resources at its disposal, and even turn to Iran for help.

Azerbaijan has agreed with Iran on the construction of the Zangezur corridor.

– Azerbaijan has strengthened in the liberated territories, so much so that it has seized the strategic initiative on the conditional border with Armenia.

– Azerbaijan strengthened its positions in Karabakh, took control of the city of Lachin and infrastructure

Armenia at first followed the Russian vision, but after the failure of the war in Ukraine and increased attention from the West, the Prime Minister of Armenia began to take actions and make statements that destroy the Russian construct.

Prague Summit

Recently, on the sidelines of the first meeting of the European Political Community in Prague on October 6, 2022, on the initiative of the President of the French Republic and the President of the European Council, a meeting was held between the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Armenia and Azerbaijan reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Charter and the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991, through which both sides recognize each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. They confirmed that this would form the basis for the work of the delimitation commissions and that the next meeting of these commissions would take place in Brussels. Armenia agreed to encourage the EU civilian mission along the border with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan agreed to cooperate with the mentioned mission to the extent that it will concern it. The mission began its work in October, for a maximum period of two months. The purpose of the mission is to build confidence and help the border commissions through their reports.

Sochi Meeting

Information about Russia’s intention to convene a tripartite meeting in Sochi appeared a month ago. The Sochi meeting, which was supposed to be additional, especially after the summit in Prague, over the past ten days has become almost decisive.

At the Sochi meeting on October 31, 2022, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed a new tripartite statement. In this statement, the countries reaffirmed their strict commitment to all these agreements for the comprehensive normalization of Azerbaijani-Armenian relations. They agreed to make further efforts to urgently resolve the problems. They also mentioned the importance of preparing for the conclusion of a peace treaty between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia in order to achieve sustainable and long-term peace in the region.

What benefit can the two countries receive after the conclusion of the treaty?

Benefits of peace for Armenia

If the two countries had signed a peace treaty, Nikol Pashinyan would have opened up great opportunities for Armenia within the framework of the Eastern Partnership. Such an opportunity would bring the country more development than Putin’s Eurasian Economic Union. If a peace agreement is reached, Armenia will get a chance to integrate into the EU Customs Union, and its economic situation will improve. In addition, Armenia will significantly reduce its dependence on countries such as Russia and Iran, which will significantly improve its international image. The peace treaty will also promote employment opportunities for the country’s citizens. Armenians can move freely between the two countries and even neighboring countries in search of trade or employment opportunities. In addition, it will attract investments contributing to economic growth. Another advantage of the peace treaty is that it will allow Armenia to participate in more regional projects. Armenia has not been able to participate in projects such as the Southern Gas Corridor, which can significantly reduce excessive dependence on gas imports from Iran.

Benefits of peace for Azerbaijan

The peace treaty will provide Azerbaijan with more opportunities for gas exploration and export. Azerbaijan is a key player in the oil and gas industry, but not in the world market. However, due to the recent global decline in oil and gas production, the country’s proposal may help to improve the situation to a small extent. The decline in global oil and gas supplies has affected the economies of many countries, causing inflation. Because of the war at the northern border, where some oil pipes pass, Azerbaijan could not risk that its oil supplies would become a target. However, with the peace treaty, the country can confidently use pipelines to supply oil and gas to neighboring countries and the EU, thereby contributing to economic growth. Azerbaijani citizens will be able to move stably and freely near the border. Peace on the border will also contribute to the improvement of social life and security in this region. For a long time, people living near this region have been subjected to prolonged violence and conflicts that have affected their social life. The agreement will allow residents of both regions to live in harmony and will contribute to the development of trade and security, which is long overdue. Peace between the two countries will significantly improve the country’s international image. The government was sanctioned by the USA and the UK, which significantly affected its relations with these and other countries. The sanctions were imposed to keep the country from getting involved in the conflict and reneging on the agreement. However, with the treaty, such sanctions will be lifted, thus promoting good relations with other countries.

Farida Musayeva
Farida Musayeva
Graduate Student in the School of Politics and International Relations at East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.