Azerbaijan has put forward an initiative to establish sustainable peace in the South Caucasus and turn the region into a space of stability. As President Ilham Aliyev said at the “South Caucasus: Development and Cooperation” international conference at ADA University, Azerbaijan has good relations with all its neighbors, not only Russia and Turkey, but also Georgia and Iran, and hopefully will have good relations with Armenia as well.
Azerbaijan has proposed five concrete principles for normalizing relations with Armenia, and these principles should constitute the foundation for the future peace treaty.
Sergei Markov, Director of the Institute for Political Studies, believes that with the establishment of a lasting and sustainable peace, the region as a whole is bound to be transformed from a territory of confrontation into a territory of friendship and joint development.
“For the peace process to speed up, the agreement of November 10, 2020 has to be implemented. This document clearly states that the demilitarization of the part of Karabakh under the control of the peacekeepers must take place. But so far, as we know, such demilitarization has not happened. This is the issue that must be resolved first. The second issue to be resolved is the unblocking of transport communications, on which all the agreements have also been signed. This is first and foremost the Zangezur corridor,” Markov said.
The expert also considers the demarcation and delimitation of the border to be an important issue.
“The third issue is the demarcation and delimitation of the border. It must be fast-tracked; we are talking primarily about the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the area that was occupied by Armenia for a quarter of a century. Furthermore, it is of course imperative that a peace treaty be signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan recognizing each other’s existing borders, with Armenia also recognizing that Karabakh is Azerbaijan. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has formulated five fundamental principles, on the basis of which a peace treaty can be signed,” the political scientist stressed.
According to Markov, rapid economic development in the region will become possible once peace is established.
“First of all, in the areas that have suffered from the occupation. At the same time, there will be opportunities for development in general. I think the Armenian population will greatly benefit from the removal of the economic blockade, from various economic projects that will be implemented with the participation of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Iran, who is ready to join in. In general, the “3+3″ format is very productive. It could lead to rapid economic growth in the region, to higher living standards of the population, to the development of modern sectors of the economy and industry. In general, the region should be transformed from a territory of political and military confrontation into a territory of friendship and joint development,” the expert said.
Markov believes that contacts between representatives of Azerbaijan and Armenia are extremely important.
“The normalization of relations between the two countries is achieved through the decisions of the authorities, by compromising and agreeing on common interests. This is why diplomacy is the driving force of state-to-state relations. It is time Armenia and Azerbaijan moved from mediated contacts to direct contacts, which is more productive and advanced. The dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia is already continuous and advanced enough to move to direct bilateral relations,” the political scientist argues.
Azerbaijan is promoting peace in the South Caucasus not in words but in deeds. Armenia should not miss its chance to integrate into the economy of the region, and this will be possible only after a peace treaty is signed. The normalization of relations between the two countries will create opportunities for the entire region and transform it into a region of cooperation.