On Thursday, the 25th of June, in collaboration with the web portal Commonspace.eu, The Hague Conversations on Conflict turned its attention to the South Caucasus, looking specifically at how the countries of the region have tackled COVID-19 and how the pandemic has affected both domestic politics and the often tense and always finely balanced regional relations.

Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have adopted different strategies to contain the pandemic, with different degrees of success. But the strategies were often caught in contentious domestic political debates. The three unrecognised entities in the region – Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh – faced their own challenges in dealing with the pandemic. Covid-19 provided no respite to the war of words between the different players, a reminder of the entrenched and underlying challenges facing the region.

What is the likely political fallout from the pandemic on the politics of the region? Has the regional dynamic changed in any way? And how did external actors – Russia, the EU, China, the United States and others – fare? To discuss these and other questions, we were joined by three speakers from the region:

  • H.E. Mr George Sharvashidze: the Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) speaking from The Hague.
  • Benyamin Poghosyan: Founder and Chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Yerevan, Armenia.
  • Ahmad Alili: Chairman of the Caucasus Policy Analysis Centre of Azerbaijan in Baku.

The conversation was moderated by William Murray, Project Officer at LINKS Europe and Co-convenor of The Hague Conversations on Conflict series.

The Hague Conversations on Conflict are a series of events, roundtables and webinars, organised by LINKS Europe and The Hague Humanity Hub, which aim to rethink approaches to conflict prevention and resolution with the inclusion of the international community.