Thomas De Waal, a senior fellow with Carnegie Europe (specializing in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region), on Wednesday warned of imminent escalations over Nagorno-Karabakh, calling for strong efforts towards using diplomatic and political resources in reaching a breakthrough in the long-lasting land dispute.
“Last year was really very dangerous, and we really see the prospect of another escalation this year. And this year could be even more dangerous as we could see more fighting,” the expert said through a video conference as he joined a debate hosted by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (Yerevan office).
As a key effort towards reaching peace, he stressed the importance of implementing the May 16 Vienna agreement.
“And the basis of that agreement is basically two things: the strengthening of ceasefire mandate, which is the central Armenian demand, and also the central Azerbaijani demand, which is a resumption of serious comprehensive political negotiations. So I think this is the basis for an agreement or at least for a preventive diplomacy,” he said, citing the lack of international engagement as a key reason behind the failure to reach peace.
Mr De Waal stressed the importance of re-energizing the Minsk Group format to make the process effective. “We need to get the American and French [co-chairs] fruitfully engaged in the process and to try to restart or remake the agreement in Vienna last year. I think it’s essential if we do not want a slow descent into a new conflict,” he added.