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Azerbaijan and Armenia: Confidence-building Measures Needed Azerbaijan and Armenia: Confidence-building Measures Needed
by Rene Wadlow
2020-11-03 10:57:04
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Despite negotiations for a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the fighting continues. The conflict becomes increasingly complex as other States become involved, in particular Turkey but also Russia, Iran, Israel and the USA. Confidence between Azerbaijan and Armenia is at a low ebe. It is useful, therefore, to look at what the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe considers as confidence-building measures.

azer001_400The term "confidence-building measures" was first used in the negotiations concerning conventional arms control between NATO and the Warsaw Bloc powers which ultimately led to the 1992 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. The term was coined to distinguish the measures from "disarmament" which was not on the agenda.

Early military confidence and security-building measures were set out as aims in the 1975 Helsinki Act. These measures concerned advanced notification of large-scale military exercises and force movements that could be used for launcing surprise attacks or preparing for large scale offensive operations on short notice. However, the intension of such troop movements could be mistaken by others, thus the need for advanced notification. The notification was to be given no later than 21 days prior to the beginning of the exercise.

Unfortunately, the political climate worsened in the years following the adoption of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act. The crisis concerning the fielding of intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Europe became critical. The Soviet Union deployed forces in Afghanistan. Martial law was introduced in Poland.

Thus, the concept of confidence-building measures had to be seen as much broader than the advanced knowledge of military troop movements. The idea of "measures" was important - a series of steps which was not obvious in the more often used word "détante".

Confidence-building measures should lead to what the political scientist Karl W. Deutsch called a "security community" - a situation in which there is a "real assurance that the members of that community will not fight each other physically, but will settle their disputes in some other way." (1) However, in practice, the term "confidence-building measures" never really moved beyond its first military-force movement notification. The catch-all term "negotiation" was the term generally used. Yet it would have been useful to keep the confidence-building terminology to indicte a series of steps toward a larger aim of security or at least a serious reduction of tensions.

For the moment, such a series of confidence-building steps have not been set out between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Nagorno-Karabakh is an obvious issue of concern, but a broad series of measures are needed. The Minsk Group of the OSCE led by Russia, France and the USA with 11 States including Azerbaijan and Armenia have called for a ceasefire and negotiations but have not set out a sequence of measures beyond the ceasefire.

It will not be easy to get agreement among the parties as to what could constitute confidence-building measures, but such a series of steps are a necessary precondition for peacebuilding.

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Note
1) See Political Community and the North Atlantic Area (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957)

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Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens


    
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