By Erik Davtyan
January 18th, the CACI Analyst
On December 18-19, 2015 the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, held a meeting in Bern, Switzerland. The Bern meeting came after an interlude of more than a year. The latest bilateral meeting at the presidential level took place in Paris on October 27, 2014 on the initiative of France’s President François Hollande, following previous meetings on September 4 in New Port, Wales on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s initiative, and in Sochi on August 10, hosted by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
By Eka Janashia
January 22nd, the CACI Analyst
On December 18, the European Commission (EC) issued the “Fourth progress report on Georgia’s implementation of the action plan on visa liberalization” approving the country’s progress in fulfilling legislative and policy reforms, and meeting institutional and organizational principles and procedures in line with European and international standards. The EC’s positive assessment entitles Georgia to visa-free travel with the Schengen area. However, the EC’ legislative proposal, slated to be submitted in early 2016, still needs to be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament.
By Stephen Blank
January 19th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Throughout its tenure, the Obama Administration has minimized U.S. involvement with and engagement in both the Caucasus and Central Asia. However, a change in this policy may now be visible. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent, and first, visit to Central Asia suggests a new interest in an expanded and hopefully regular mutual dialogue with the region. In the case of Azerbaijan, three high-ranking U.S. delegations have come through Baku in the last few months, clearly signifying renewed interest in dialogue and the subjects of their discussion, as revealed in the press, tend to corroborate that impression.
By Erik Davtyan
January 4th, the CACI Analyst
In November 2015, two different committees of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted draft resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which received strong criticism in Armenia and several other states. On November 4, the Political Affairs Committee of PACE approved a draft resolution on “Escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan,” which was proposed by Robert Walter from the European Conservatives Group. The draft resolution calls for “the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces and other irregular armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan, the establishment of full sovereignty of Azerbaijan in these territories.” It also calls for “the establishment by the OSCE of an international peacekeeping force to maintain security within Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories.”
By Armen Grigoryan
December 29th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Armenia’s constitutional referendum has stimulated a debate about the future of the country’s political regime, including the issue of succession after President Serzh Sargsyan’s second and last term in office. The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) is seeking to secure its position in the long term, which will in essence pave the way for a formal multi-party system with a de facto strongman rule, similar to Russia and several other post-Soviet states. The opposition viewed the referendum as another opportunity to contest the government at the polls. However, Armenia’s current economic, social and foreign policies are unlikely to change.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.