Suren Sargsyan

Responsibility to Protect: To Prevent Another Armenian Genocide, Moscow, Washington and Paris Must Cooperate


On February 1, US Secretary of State Blinken appointed Louis L. Bono Senior Advisor on the Caucasus Negotiations and made the following statement to the press: “The United States is committed to helping Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement, including a long-term political settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Mr. Bono will engage bilaterally, with like minded partners, including the European Union, and with international organizations, such as the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe], to facilitate direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan.” Mr. Bono, as noted, will engage bilaterally with likeminded partners, including the European Union, and with international organizations, such as the OSCE, to facilitate direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, the fact that the US avoided using the name of the OSCE Minsk Group is noteworthy.

We still remember those times when three superpowers, the United States, Russia and France, formed and effectively cooperated as co-chairs of the so-called Minsk Group of the OCSE, the aim of which was to support peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Despite the significant disagreements and contradictions that existed between the USA and France on the one hand and Russia on the other, this platform was a unique place where the three co-chairs adopted a common approach and had a unified position. The position was clear. The Nagorno-Karabakh issue can be solved based on the principles of non-use of force, territorial integrity, and self-determination of peoples. This situation continued to persist until the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, when the realities on the ground changed and the negotiation process was formally over.

As a result of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan supported by Turkey, which coincided with the presidential elections in the United States, a Russian peacekeeping mission was deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh, and still performs its duties without an international mandate but one received from Armenia and Azerbaijan only. Taking into account the new realities formed right after the war, the co-chairs did not even manage to start adapting to the new situation when the Ukrainian war started and Russia-West relations and contacts were reduced to zero on both bilateral and multilateral levels. In other words, it turned out that the only format that could help Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiate, disappeared.

Taking advantage of this situation, Azerbaijan surrounds the 100,000 Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh and does not allow the opportunity to deliver medicine, food and basic necessities to the Armenian population there. By depriving them of natural gas and electricity, Aliyev’s regime condemned the Armenian population to starvation and cold, which could become another Armenian Genocide that we can witness before our eyes.

Now the roles of the superpowers are crucial, simply because these superpowers are forcing the small countries under their influence to choose one or another foreign political vector. These states or even regions are often considered the sphere of influence of a superpower and this status is usually challenged by the other superpower. The clash of superpowers is like a powerful earthquake, as a result of which massive collapses occur and small states appear from under the ruins. As a matter of fact, superpowers like the US, France (EU) and Russia have responsibilities towards international security and stability as they are the architects of the modern system of international security. Their enmity in one part of the world and the failure to cooperate in other parts of the world could cause a humanitarian catastrophe, just like the one happening in Nagorno-Karabakh. The responsibility of these superpowers towards small nations is undeniable and they simply cannot avoid their leadership in that regard.

Whether we like it or not, it is the responsibility of the superpowers to pay attention to the problems that have arisen as a result of advancing their geopolitical interests and, in that regard, they have to cooperate despite disagreements, hostility or mistrust.

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