war between the two South Caucasus states. he recent outbreak of violence along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is extremely worrisome for observers because of fears that it might uncontrollably spiral into another These former Soviet republics were embroiled in a bitter conflict from 1988-1994 over the Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was an autonomous republic populated mostly by ethnic Armenians at the time of the USSR’s dissolution that wanted to unite with Armenia instead of remaining part of an independent Azerbaijan.
More About Madrid Principles
- The Madrid principles were proposed in 2007 and updated in 2009.
- The American, French and Russian co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group offered this pragmatic series of suggestions that both Armenia and Azerbaijan expressed interest in, though they importantly differ on their interpretations of this document.
- It basically calls for Armenia to withdraw its military from universally recognized Azerbaijani territory in exchange for Baku granting de-facto autonomy to Nagorno-Karabakh, pending a referendum on its final political status following the voluntary return of its displaced population.
- They provided for a prohibition on the use of force, respect for territorial integrity, and recognition of the equal right to self-determination.
- A corridor is also supposed to be created for linking this disputed region with Armenia because it’s officially separated from it by a small sliver of territory. International peacekeepers are expected to deploy to the region too.
- One of the most significant guidelines was Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-governance and the election of officials with legislative and executive powers during the interim period preceding a plebiscite.
- Nagorno-Karabakh would establish judicial institutions, conduct external relations in certain areas, have representation on OSCE forums relevant to bilateral matters and, crucially, be accorded representation in international organisations where statehood was not a constraint.
- The above catalogue in effect amounts to the grant of statehood for Nagorno-Karabakh in all but name.
- Armenia and the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh suspect that Azerbaijan won’t honor its commitments, and Azerbaijan worries that Armenia will try to insincerely reinterpret parts of the Madrid Principles to indefinitely delay this process.
- This unresolved conflict has the potential to destabilize the entire region because of Russia’s mutual defense obligations to Armenia via the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Turkey’s promises to aid its Azerbaijani ally in the event of another war.