OSCE Minsk Group
The OSCE Minsk Group was created in 1992 by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, now Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)) to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Founding and members
The Helsinki Additional Meeting of the CSCE Council on 24 March 1992, requested the Chairman-in-Office to convene as soon as possible a conference on Nagorno-Karabakh under the auspices of the CSCE to provide an ongoing forum for negotiations towards a peaceful settlement of the crisis on the basis of the principles, commitments and provisions of the CSCE. The Conference is to take place in Minsk. Although it has not to this date been possible to hold the conference, the so-called Minsk Group spearheads the OSCE effort to find a political solution to this conflict.
On 6 December 1994, the Budapest Summit of Heads of State or Government decided to establish a co-chairmanship for the process. The Summit participants also expressed their political will to deploy multinational peacekeeping forces as an essential part of the overall settlement of the conflict.
Implementing the Budapest decision, the Hungarian Chairman-in-Office Marton Krasznai issued on 23 March 1995, the mandate for the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Process.
The main objectives of the Minsk Process are as follows:
- Providing an appropriate framework for conflict resolution in the way of assuring the negotiation process supported by the Minsk Group;
- Obtaining conclusion by the Parties of an agreement on the cessation of the armed conflict in order to permit the convening of the Minsk Conference;
- Promoting the peace process by deploying OSCE multinational peacekeeping forces.
The Minsk Process can be considered to be successfully concluded if the objectives referred to above are fully met.
The Minsk Group is headed by a co-chairmanship consisting of France, Russia and the United States. Furthermore, the Minsk Group also includes the following participating states: Belarus, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Turkey as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Minsk Conference on Nagorno-Karabakh would be attended by the same participating States that are members of the Minsk Group. The Conference will be headed by the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Conference.
On 7 October 2002 during the CIS summit in Chisinau, the usefulness of the Minsk Group in peace negotiations was brought up for discussion by both the Armenian and the Azerbaijani delegations. According to them the ten-year-long OSCE mediation had not been effective enough.
Azerbaijani criticism of OSCE Minsk Group
Azerbaijanis have long distrusted the OSCE's Minsk group, co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States. All three countries have large Armenian diasporas and are considered to favor Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Many Azerbaijanis accuse the Minsk group of not putting enough pressure on Armenia to return Nagorno-Karabakh territory to Azerbaijan, and of prolonging the negotiations indefinitely.
- International Protection Considerations Regarding Azerbaijani Asylum-Seekers and Refugees. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Geneva. September 2003.
- Azerbaijan’S Relations With Minsk Group Hit New Low