The Bishkek Protocol, a ceasefire agreement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh (NKR) and Russia’s representative to the CSCE Minsk Group on May 5 in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, was put into effect 17 years ago today — May 12, 1994.
The protocol, which called upon the conflicting sides to “come to common senses,” called on the parties to cease armed conflict, withdraw troops from occupied territories, restore communication and return refugees. Furthermore, the Protocol urged such meetings “for peaceful resolution of the armed conflict” to continue.
Though the conflict — often referred to as frozen or in a state of no-war, no-peace — cannot be considered over, there is considerable less fighting than during the years of what is referred to as the Nagorno-Karabakh War. And though you’ll be hard-pressed to find any press conferences in Yerevan to mark the day today, at least one news outlet, blogger and local journalist have addressed the occasion. Blogger Marut Vanyan posted a few archival photos and a paragraph from PanArmenian.net on his blog today, while PanArmenian.net drew attention to the day with a short piece.
Yerevan-based journalist Onnik Krikorian created an e-book with photos and articles by Armenian, Georgian and Azeri authors (as part of the cross-border media project Conflict Voices) on the occasion which also included an introduction by Senior Associate for the Caucasus with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of the book “Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War” Thomas de Waal.
De Waal writes: “We hear far too little of what I call this ‘third narrative’ of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, a narrative of peace. It spins the idea that the two peoples are capable of getting along fine, have lived together in the past and, if politicians are able to overcome differences on the Karabakh conflict, can live together in the future. International mediators are too timid to speak this narrative or feel that it is not their business. The media in both countries suppresses it.”
And so, in the hope of not suppressing this narrative of peace and with the aim of setting an example for other media to foster a culture of peace and report on the stories not often heard in this conflict, Epress.am writes this piece, drawing attention to an occasion which should be publicized just as much, if not more, than other aspects of the conflict: that of the signing of a ceasefire agreement, a sign of the hope for peace.
Image downloaded for free from Imagine Peace (where the “War is Over” poster can be downloaded in over 100 languages).