Staunton, Jan. 24 – The leaders of Armenian public organizations in Qarabagh have sent an open letter to the members of the OSCE Minsk Group calling on them to “consider the possibility” of sending “additional international forces for the support of peace and having the mandate of the UN Security Council” to defend the security of Armenians there.
They say they are making that appeal because “the Peacekeeping Contingent of the Russian Federation in Artsakh [Qarabagh] is not in a position to oppose” what they call “the criminal actions of Azerbaijan despite the obligations laid on it within the framework of the November 9, 2020 trilateral declaration” (realtribune.ru/obshhestvennye-organizacii-arcaha-prizvali-minskuju-gruppu-obse-vvesti-v-respubliku-mezhdunarodnyh-mirotvorcev).
Two aspects of this declaration make it a potential turning point in the region that could open the way for renewed action by the Minsk Group and make it rather than Moscow the main focus of peacemaking efforts there. On the one hand, it is explicit in saying that the Russian forces aren’t capable of doing their job.
And on the other, it calls for an genuine peacekeeping contingent made up of personnel from countries not directly connected with the conflict, a move that could have the effect of sidelining the Russian forces which do not qualify as a peacekeeping force under the provisions of international law because Moscow is very much a party to the conflict.
As such, it presents a new opportunity for the French and American co-chairs of the Minsk Group to recover much of the position it lost after the 44-day war when Moscow shouldered them aside and effectively declared that de facto the Minsk Group was dead. If Paris and Washington do react positively to this appeal, that could change overnight.