The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to South Caucasus scheduled for June 3-6 emphasizes on the one hand the importance of the region to the States, on the other, pressing political issues and security in the Caucasus, which can involve the West, former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Kenneth S. Yalowit wrote on Democracy & Freedom Watch website.
The growing Russian military presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the lack of progress in the Geneva talks and the upcoming Georgian parliamentary and presidential elections, which are very important to the Georgian democracy, will be key issues on her agenda in Tbilisi. The recent NATO Summit in Chicago confirmed the opportunity for Georgia to join NATO, at the same time claimed the necessity for more reforms on the Georgian side.
The other dangerous situation in the South Caucasus is the threat of resuming hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Minsk Group process appeared in a deadlock, while arms buildup is proceeding on both sides. The situation on the ceasefire line is not stable and the rhetoric on both sides does not contribute to a peaceful results. Resumption of hostilities could possibly engage Russia, Turkey and Iran into conflict and create a significant international crisis. The Karabakh issue will be emphasized in the discussions between the Secretary and Armenian and Azerbaijani sides. She will call for moderation and de-escalation of the arms buildup and rhetoric.