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The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Moving from Power Brokerage to Relationship Restructuring

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The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh represents the failure of mediation efforts in the context of a prolonged and successful ceasefire which has created disincentives for compromise. Today’s difficult negotiation atmosphere originates from perceiving the conflict as primarily an ethnic problem couched in the rhetoric of a territorial dispute. Further, a prolonged and successful ceasefire has entrenched powerful economic and political interests on both sides which stand to gain from continued limbo. With this in mind, the Minsk Group should shift its focus to the implementation of confidence-building measures between the authorities on both sides as well as the three societies involved. Secondly, the Minsk Group co-chairs can no longer just serve as peace brokers, but must be co-signers to the negotiated agreement, emphasizing their role as guarantors of a long-term peace between Armenians and Azeris. Finally, any long-term agreement will have to include aspects of mutual economic development, cross-cultural exchange, and socio-political understanding.

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