Security in the South Caucasus and the Role of the Euro-Atlantic community: Time to Take Stock

7 February 2017

The South Caucasus is one of the most security-challenged regions in the world as a result of protracted conflicts (South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Nagorno-Karabakh), closed borders and weak governance. Unresolved conflicts, in particular Nagorno-Karabakh, which remains in a ‘no peace, no war’ situation, continue to undermine the region’s security. This has been exacerbated by Russia’s response to steps taken by the three South Caucasus states to deepen ties with the West, in particular with the United States, NATO and the EU. The best examples are the 2008 Russia-Georgia war and the decision in September 2013 of Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, to end negotiations for an Association Agreement with the EU and join the Russian-led Eurasian Union instead. The European Policy Centre, in cooperation with the US Mission to the EU, held a Policy Dialogue to analyse the key security challenges facing the South Caucasus and the main obstacles to overcoming them. The Dialogue discussed key objectives of the US, NATO and the EU in the region and how these can best be achieved. An expert panel also looked at how tensions between the West and Russia are affecting the region, and whether the Euro-Atlantic community should be taking a more proactive approach towards resolving the three protracted conflicts. Finally, the Dialogue discussed the potential impact of the Trump Presidency on US policy in the region.

Speakers included: Amanda Paul, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre, Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Russia & Eurasia Programme, CSIS, Washington, HE Herbert Salber, EU Special Representative to the South Caucasus, Neil Melvin, Director, Armed Conflict and Conflict Management Programme, SIPRI