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Photograph: the name Karabakh means Black Garden (William Arthurs)
According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Armenia and Azerbaijan have reached some agreement on a four-point plan with the aim of reaching a resolution on the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
It was reported that this was the positive outcome of meetings between Ali Babacan, Turkey's Foreign Minster, Eduard Nalbandian, Armenian Foreign Minster, and Azerbaijan's Foreign Minster, Elmar Memmdyarov, which took place on the fringes of the Munich Security Forum and immediately afterwards.
Whilst no official agreement is likely to take place without the participation of the Minsk Group and the OSCE, it is hoped that both organisations foster the positive direction in which the discussions between Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan are going.
A failure to harness the opportunity for stability in the region would be a great failure on the part of both international organisations.
It is well accepted that the potential for a violent thawing of the Karabakh conflict exists, and the OSCE and Minsk Group must fully support any constructive understanding between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
A clear timetable for the implementation of a peace agreement would make for the best possible chance for a speedy opening of the border between Armenia and Turkey, a development that would pave the way for a new prosperity for the people of the Caucasus. And one that would be especially beneficial to Armenia which has been largely cut off from the recent prosperity created by oil and gas extraction and transit routes in the region.
Whilst these developments are very encouraging there are always pitfalls to be watched for and, ironically, at moments of the greatest optimism there are always forces that may prefer destabilisation or look for ways to hinder progress or engender mistrust. And we hope that the politicians of both Armenia and Azerbaijan will be mindful of these factors and work towards a solution with the sincerity and zeal and courage they have already shown.
So cautious optimism and a resolve for peace must be the way forward.
Transatlantic & Caucasus Studies Institute is a working name of The Transatlantic Institute.
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