The visit of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to the South Caucasus took place under the conditions when Germany has led the OSCE. This dual status of Steinmeier, as a foreign minister and a representative of the presiding country in the European security system, leaves some mark on the goals and objectives of the South Caucasus voyage.
We should note a number of important moments of Germany's role in European and Caucasian policy of the European Union. In both cases, both policies to a large extent generate from Berlin since the formation of the new European relations after the Second World War.
Germany, which rose from the ruins, thanks to the US Marshall Plan (just like the whole Western Europe), became, together with France, an initiator of the creation of a New Europe, a modernized version of which we are witnessing today. Germany, to some extent, managed to build a very long-term European security system, which is based on three pillars: values, interests and compromises.
It must be remembered that the German policy, in contrast to the British and French, for centuries focused on the eastern part of the Eurasian continent. This tradition has been preserved and modified, and after the Second World War has become a common policy platform of the entire European Union. It is noteworthy that only in the second decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union; Germany has developed a coordinated strategy for the South Caucasus countries on the background of more active EU policy in the region. It all started after the completion of the main phase of the strategy reunification of two Germanys. In 1999 was held "South Caucasus summit" of the EU, led by Germany. After Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe, in 2001, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development initiated the "Caucasus Initiative". It became the basis for the development and implementation of the two European programs of the "European Neighborhood Policy" in 2004, and "Eastern Partnership" in 2009. Many of the provisions of these documents are the same and draw in detail a single targeted policy with key German component.
The element of values added to the historical interest of Germany to Eurasia as a resource space. It's not perfect, but it has common roots, expressed in Europeanization of the continent since the beginning of the reign of Peter the Great in Russia, and which developed more rapidly in the Soviet period on the basis of the Romano-Germanic system of education and culture. Steinmeier summed up in the past in his face the attitude of Germany and the EU to the post-Soviet east when he characterized the participants of the Neighborhood Policy, including the countries of the North African continent and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. He said: to the south from us (Europe) are the neighbors of Europe and to the east of us are the European neighbors. Thus, he indicated a particular interest of Europe’s expanding primarily in the eastern direction.
In this vein, Steinmeier's visit to the South Caucasus was mainly aimed at consultations with the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia on the implementation of the immediate tasks for the development of integration processes within the framework of agreements that each of these countries have with the
Karabakh barrier of European integration
In recent years the growth dynamics of rapprochement of the South Caucasus and Europe is observed, which thanks to Germany has moved from internally concentrated policy of 90s to the active foreign policy of the early 21st century. Here we more clearly observe the main obstacle to the opening of a new phase of relations: regional conflicts (Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia), and authoritarian regimes of Azerbaijan and Armenia, that caused the more active German policy of accelerating the settlement process and democratic reform. Efforts in both directions are going in parallel.
This is evidenced by Steinmeier’s statements in Yerevan and Baku. "Two months have passed since the beginning of military actions in this region resulting in casualties on both sides. All of us, the conflicting parties and the entire OSCE, understand that to keep the status quo for a long time is impossible," Steinmeier.
The first task is to strengthen the security system of the Karabakh settlement after the April local war, which was initiated by the United States in Vienna and Russia in St.Petersburg. Second task is the transition to an intensive search for ways of settlement of the conflict with long-term guarantees. And third, the solution of the conflict as a source of instability, in the short term.
In fact, Steinmeier voiced, summarized and brought to both presidents the approaches that have been voiced by all the OSCE Minsk Group mediators earlier. The telephone call by the US Secretary of State John Kerry on June 30 to Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan calling to respect the Vienna and St.Petersburg commitments practically proved the high diplomatic support to the value of Steinmeier's visit on all the issues raised.
The next step in the peace process should be a meeting of the Presidents in Paris, which will form the final consensus of the Minsk triumvirate on the Karabakh conflict. Perhaps, the Paris meeting could be regarded as the beginning of real negotiations on the implementation of the last plan of the OSCE Minsk Group, proposed in May, 2014. Co-Chairs plan was very close to the formation of a compromise model which would take into account the condition of the Azerbaijani settlement - territorial integrity, and Armenian - self-determination of the Karabakh Armenians. The latest events in April, which may seem strange to ignorant, detonated the peace process and brought together opposite perception of conflict by the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides thanks largely to a change of borders in the contact line in Azerbaijan's favor, with support of the third, or maybe three forces.
Karabakh issue, along with the European integration, was the subject of talks by Steinmeier in Tbilisi, which as South Caucasian neighbor more than others is interested in the establishment of peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and that uses a Georgian platform for the Azerbaijani-Armenian informal contacts with a view to search ways to settlement. In this sense, both sides had something to talk about, taking into account that Germany is actively cooperating with Georgia in this issue.