Sanction the Aggressors: Enforce a Karabakh truce!

Sanction the Aggressors: Enforce a Karabakh truce!

10/14/2020, 5:00:00 PM
Even though the Russian-hosted peace talks were welcomed, the bombs keep falling! Volt calls on the EU to urgently install a hybrid mediation mission

Even though the Russian-hosted peace talks were welcomed, the bombs keep falling! Volt calls on the EU to urgently install a hybrid mediation mission in Karabakh! This must be coordinated by the existing EU Representative to the South Caucasus. As Europe can bring belligerents to the table, we must be ready to both reward cooperation and punish continued aggression. 

Firstly, the EU must condition its standing Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with Azerbaijan and Armenia to non-agression. This truce clause would incentivise ceasefire with trade, and would ensure that there are consequences for aggression. 

If Azerbaijan’s government does not stop its current warmongering, financial institutions that fund the war effort must be sanctioned. To apply additional pressure, the Azeri government’s oil fund should be sanctioned until a ceasefire comes into effect in reality and not only on paper. Similarly, if Turkey does not withdraw its support of the Azeri war machine, the EU should look to enact sweeping trade sanctions. 

Lastly, the EU must sanction individuals, not only institutions. Anyone who funds aggression in the region must find their assets frozen and blocked from the EU market. That way the EU can take into account the asymmetric way these types of wars are funded, and undercut governments’ ability to pay lip service to our mediation while funneling money into rogue agents.

The EU must be an unwavering force for peace, or civilians will continue to die. Sadly, that seems far-fetched with the European institutions constantly being at the mercy of individual member states. We need a European government and foreign ministry held accountable directly by the European Parliament - that would allow us to use our collective clout for good. 

For now, however, Europe has to use the tools that are immediately available. That does indeed mean sanctioning warmongering governments. It must also mean an on-the-ground mediation mission to Karabakh, and a continued presence in the region. That way, the EU can drive peaceful discussions about the future of the war-torn region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a region whose inhabitants deserve a peaceful tomorrow.