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After Kosovo: Whither Karabakh?

Organized by the Armenian Studies Program, University of Michigan
Co-sponsored by CIMERA, Geneva, Switzerland
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Friday, January 30, 2009

With the American and European recognition of an independent Kosovo, against the express desires of Serbia and Russia, and without the sanction of the United Nations, a new precedent was set for the process of recognizing new states after conflict and unilateral secession. This one-day workshop assessed how the factor of international recognition of Kosovo's independence could influence non-recognized states that emerged from similar circumstances: the collapse of federal structures of a sovereign state. The recognition of Kosovo had introduced a new element in the recognized pattern of post-Cold War state formation in Eurasia, despite the claims of some countries that this was an exception, not a precedent to the usual rules of the game. As political theorist Karl Schmidt wrote, "Sovereign is he who decides on the exception." But who is the proper sovereign here?

The change in the status of Kosovo had repercussions elsewhere. The violent clashes of August 2008 in Georgia, followed by Russian recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, underlined the novelty of the post-Kosovo world. Mountainous Karabakh represents an interesting case, not only because it is located so near the other Caucasian conflicts, but because the question of its fate has repercussions for the whole region, an arena that has recently become a central focus of East-West power games. This workshop brought together political analysts and international experts to examine the present and future of Mountainous Karabakh in light of the recent developments in Kosovo and Georgia.

Session I

9:00 - 12:00 "Kosovo, Karabakh, and the International Community: Right and Might"
Moderator: Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, author of Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History.

Vicken Cheterian, CIMERA, Geneva

International Recognition of Kosovo and its Impact on the Caucasus Conflicts”

Ben Graham, University of California, Davis

“A Bargaining Model Applied: Prospects for a Negotiated Resolution of the Status of Nagorno-Karabakh”

Mikulas Fabry, Georgia Institute of Technology

“Recognition of Kosovo, Abkhazia and South Ossetia: What are the Implications for Nagorno-Karabakh?”

Session II

2:00 - 5:00 "Caucasia, Karabakh and the Wider World: Voices from the Region"
Moderator: Gerard Libaridian, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, author of Modern Armenia: People, Nation, State
Antranik Migranyan, Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, Moscow/New York
Elin Suleymanov, Consul-General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles
Gocha Lordkipanidze, Former diplomat, Republic of Georgia