LINKS hosts 3rd Conference on contemporary South Caucasus issues at Oxford University

The 3rd Oxford Conference on contemporary South Caucasus issues, jointly organised by LINKS (DAR) and Oxford University was held at St Antony’s College, on Monday, 12 November 2018.  The theme of this year’s conference was “Regional Co-operation in the South Caucasus: elusive but necessary”.  Representatives of the  EU, UN and OSCE joined dozens of experts and academics to discuss ongoing processes in the South Caucasus region, prospects for regional-co-operation and how to address issues related to the unresolved conflicts. The Conference was held in the framework of LINKS activities as part of the EPNK partnership, a European Union initiative.

Dame Audrey Glover at the start of the opening session invited participants to mark a minute silence to honour those who fell in WWI, and in all conflicts since, including in conflicts in the South Caucasus.

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The conference then heard opening remarks by Toivo Klaar, European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the conflict in Georgia; Cihan Sultanoglu, United Nations Representative for the Geneva International Discussions; and Rudolph Michalka, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairmanship for the South Caucasus. All three speakers spoke about the intensive engagement of the international community to the region and to the three countries, particularly with regards to the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

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Toivo Klaar

“The South Caucasus region, in terms of security, economy and development, has been severely impacted by the unresolved conflicts, that all have their different specificity. These conflicts have torn countries, and the region’s social fabric, apart, and they now stand in the way of regional co-operation and the opening of borders. They hamper democratic development and don’t allow all citizens to exercise their freedoms. For the EU the current situation and the lack of movement towards conflict resolution is obviously unacceptable”. This was stated by the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Conflict in Georgia, Toivo Klaar, when making opening remarks at the 3rd Oxford Conference on Contemporary South Caucasus issues held at Oxford University on 12 November 2018.

Klaar told the conference that the European Union wants Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – as partner countries – “to help release the full potential of the neighbouring South Caucasus region as a strategic gateway between Europe and Asia. This would foster stability, security and prosperity in the entire region and beyond. It is in the best interest of our partner countries, and it is in the best interest of the EU too”, Klaar added.

You can watch the full speech on commonspace.eu youtube channel here

 

 

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Cihan Sultanoglu

“I am very much keen to pay bigger attention to the issues of women, peace and security. Without women at the table we will not be able to make much progress, whether about development, whether about security or peace”. This was stated by Cihan Sultanoglu, the United Nations Representative to the Geneva International Discussions whilst making opening remarks at the 3rd Oxford Conference on contemporary South Caucasus issues held at Oxford University on 12 November 2018. Sultanoglu also reminded that she was the first woman to co-chair the Geneva International Discussions since they started a decade ago.

You can watch the full speech on commonspace.eu youtube channel here

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Rudolph Michalka

The OSCE hopes that the negotiations for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will gain pace, whilst the security situation on the line of contact and the state borders remains stable. This was stated by the OSCE Chairmanship Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Ambassador Rudolph Michalka when making opening remarks at the 3rd Oxford Conference on Contemporary South Caucasus issues held at Oxford University on 12 November.

You can watch the full speech on commonspace.eu youtube channel here

 

The Conference then heard a keynote address by HE Nathalie Sabanadze, Georgia’s Ambassador to the European Union.

Listen to the speech of the Georgian Ambassador on commonspace.eu youtube channel here

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The conference then continued with various panel discussions.

Panel 1 “Domestic developments amid shifting regional dynamics and tense global processes” was moderated by Professor Roy Allison (Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre, Oxford University). Other speakers were Zaur Shiriyev (Analyst, International Crisis Group), Dr Giorgi Khelashvili (Advisor to the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia), Lusine Kharatyan (National Academy of Sciences of Armenia).

Listen to the panel discussion on the commonspace.eu youtube channel here

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Panel 2 “Big players, competing agendas, demanding clients – the role of external actors in the South Caucasus”, was moderated by Craig Oliphant from the Foreign Policy Centre. Panellists included Amanda Paul (Senior Analyst, European Policy Centre), Dr Giorgio Comai (International Co-operation Centre, Trento), Professor Jamie Shea (Exeter University); and Armenak Tokmajyan (International Crisis Group).

Listen to the panel discussion on the commonspace.eu youtube channel here

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Panel 3 “Breaking the vicious circle: Can the region emerge from the quagmire of conflict?” was chaired by Dr Dennis Sammut (LINKS [DAR]). Speakers included  Veronika Movchan, (Berlin Economics), Ahmad Allili (CESD. Baku), Eduard Abrahamyan (Leicester University).

Listen to the panel discussion on the commonspace.eu youtube channel here

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