Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Egypt, Morocco lose first World cup matches conceding last minute goals

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Macron likes his china fancy

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

World Cup: And in the end, Putin wins?; Trump hits back at critics; Migrant crisis divides EU governments

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The Jewish community's place in French society

Read more

#TECH 24

Football and tech: The data game is on!

Read more

ENCORE!

John Cameron Mitchell on his new film 'How to Talk to Girls at Parties'

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Iran's water crisis

Read more

FOCUS

Residents of southern Lebanon live in fear of another war

Read more

#THE 51%

Turning pain into hope: Rwanda's children of rape

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2012-12-19

Nagorno-Karabakh, the time bomb on Europe's doorstep

The enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is a powder keg at the centre of a decades-old dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Its people are mostly Armenian, but under the Soviet Union it was ruled by Azerbaijan. In 1991, Nagorno-Karabakh declared itself independent. A three-year war followed, killing around 30,000 people. A fragile truce still holds, but Armenian forces occupy large swathes of Azeri land, and oil-rich Azerbaijan says it will take back the territories by force if there's no peace deal.

Armenians and Azeris inhabit two different worlds. The Karabakh Armenians do not see themselves as occupiers, but as keepers of their ancestral lands. They will tell you that they were effectively occupied by Azerbaijan for 70 years. Azeris will tell you that they did no harm to the Armenians in those 70 years, and that it was the Armenians who sparked the conflict. War trauma and national pride prevent the two nations from communicating directly with each other. Occasionally their presidents or foreign ministers will sit around a table with a Russian or Western mediator. The smiles are wooden; the suits seemingly made of concrete.

The worry, of course, is that Azerbaijan’s oil-infused defence upgrade will make for a much more devastating second Karabakh war. Russia, Turkey and Iran could be sucked in. But over coffee at one of the smarter hotels in the Karabakh "capital" Stepanakert, a presidential aide offered France 24 a surprising perspective. Despite Azerbaijan’s public threats to retake its lands by force, Baku privately prefers the status quo, he said. Azerbaijan has pledged to give Karabakh a "very high degree of autonomy" if and when it regains control. That, the aide told us, could open a pandora’s box of claims by other minorities inside Azerbaijan, such as Lezgins, Talysh and Kurds. Eventually, the aide suggested, the integrity of the Azerbaijani state could be seriously compromised – and over a larger geographical area than just Karabakh.

If he’s right, perhaps we shouldn’t expect a second Karabakh war after all.

By Willy BRACCIANO , Markus Meyer , Armen GEORGIAN

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2018-06-14 Africa

Video: Fishing far from home, from Senegal to Brittany

In the western French region of Brittany, Senegalese fishermen board trawlers in the early morning to catch fish for the local markets of Guilvinec and Lorient. They have come to...

Read more

2018-06-08 Europe

Video: Meeting Russia’s World Cup volunteers

More than 35,000 people will work without pay for FIFA during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. These volunteers will welcome guests in the 11 host cities, help translate, handle...

Read more

2018-05-25 May 68

'We heard there might be a civil war': May 68 seen from abroad

In France, May 1968 has become a symbol of young people and workers in revolt. But how were the events viewed outside the country? FRANCE 24 looks back at the international...

Read more

2018-05-18 Middle East

Beyond the conflict: Reporter's notebook in modern-day Israel

Israel regularly makes headlines, but there is more to the country than the conflict with the Palestinians. FRANCE 24 reports from a young but highly developed nation, a holy...

Read more

2018-05-11 Middle East

Video: Stateless in Palestine

What does life in the West Bank look like under Israeli occupation? Our reporters travelled to Area C, to meet the women and men who live on lands coveted by Israeli settlers....

Read more