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Project: Regional Cooperation and Conflict Prevention in the Transcaucasus

The countries of the former Soviet Union have been described as the least developed world of the future. The Caucasian region has been one of the least stable among them since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. It has experienced three major civil conflicts - two in Georgia and one in Azerbaijan. The conflicts have had dramatic effects on the social structure of all three countries and constitute a significant impediment to the liberal and democratic economic and political transitions sought by Western states (e.g. the United States), intergovernmental organisations (e.g. the United Nations and the European Union) and non-state actors. So far, there have been very few systematic efforts to engage specialists from all three countries in the effort to develop a community of perspectives on regional cooperation. This collaborative project with three southern Caucasian partners aims to fill this gap. Rooted primarily in academic analysis, the project will produce concrete suggestions for cooperative initiatives. It focuses on options that are feasible without prior political settlement, that will contribute to building an atmosphere of enhanced trust and confidence, which, in turn, will contribute to the process of conflict settlement and prevention. The experiences of the Transcaucasian region are also examined in terms of their utility for other regions affected by internal instability and interstate conflict.