The Caucasus Imperative

There has been talk of a meeting at the upcoming OSCE summit in Astana between the presidents of Russia and France, the US secretary of state, and the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. But, in the absence of adequate preparation, such high-level talks to resolve the 20-year-old dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh could merely prolong the conflict.

YEREVAN – Summit season is upon us. Following the G-20 meetings in Seoul and the NATO summit in Portugal, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will hold its first summit in 10 years in Astana, Kazakhstan’s spanking new capital city.

This is only the fourth post-Cold War summit convened by the OSCE. The first was held in 1994 in Budapest, the year the group transformed itself into a new, post-détente organization. There were two more, in Lisbon in 1996 and in Istanbul in 1999.

Not coincidentally, the ten-year gap between summits overlaps with Russia’s re-emergence as a global player, following the trauma of the Soviet Union’s collapse. As a result of Russia’s revival, a range of disagreements has arisen within the OSCE – the only pan-European and trans-Atlantic organization that includes old Europe and the post-Soviet states.

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