Baku / 03.08.19 / Turan: The Baku and Yerevan press clubs with the support of the US Department of State conducted a study on the potential of civil diplomacy in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. On August 2, Baku hosted a discussion on the outcome of this work with the participation of experts and journalists.
Most of the participants of focus groups and in-depth interviews in both Azerbaijan and Armenia noted that civil diplomacy played a certain role in the past, which has now substantially decreased. Azerbaijani respondents pointed out the most favorable period for the period from 1993 to 2000, and the opinion was expressed that in terms of content and effectiveness, “secondary” diplomacy was ahead of the official negotiation format, the study says.
The main purpose of the work is to study the feasibility of revitalizing Track 2 (“secondary diplomacy”) and developing appropriate recommendations. Work within the study was carried out for 14 months.
The study confirmed that the intensity and content of the informal dialogue between the parties to the Karabakh conflict are currently at the lowest level since the beginning of the confrontation in 1988. Separate initiatives supported by international organizations and involving certain groups of Armenians and Azerbaijanis remain little known to representatives of the general public.
Mistrust largely determines the nature of relations between Armenian and Azerbaijani societies.
The research recommendations expressed the view that it is necessary to revive the Armenian-Azerbaijani dialogue at an informal level.
International mediators are encouraged to contribute to the inclusion of support for civil initiatives in the official negotiation documents, to facilitate mutual visits by journalists to the neighboring countries and the conflict zone, to receive first-hand information and discuss professional issues. International organizations, including donor organizations, take into account the interest of Armenian and Azerbaijani civil society representatives, experts and journalists to take greater responsibility for the implementation of projects and, in certain cases, to interact without intermediaries, the study says.
During the discussion, the participants in the discussions highly appreciated the work done and supported its conclusions. A common opinion was expressed about the benefits of the dialogue between civil societies of the two countries, which can have a positive impact on the search for ways to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.