Azerbaijan - OSCE
The Republic of Azerbaijan joined the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) on January 30, 1992.
On July 8, 1992 the Republic of Azerbaijan accepted the CSCE Helsinki Final Act of 1975 by the formal signing at the CSCE Helsinki Summit.
The Republic of Azerbaijan joined the CSCE Charter of Paris on 20 December 1993.
Azerbaijan signed the Charter for European Security at the OSCE Istanbul Summit on 19 November 1999.
The OSCE and the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict
The Additional Meeting of the Council of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in Helsinki on 24 March 1992 requested the CSCE Chairman-in-Office (CiO) 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 city of Minsk (Belarus) was selected to host this Conference. It has not to this date been possible to hold the conference that includes designated participants of it. However, under the framework of that conference, negotiations have been conducted to find a political solution to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In May 1993 Initial Operations Planning Group (IOPG) was established in the OSCE framework in order to prepare the deployment of the OSCE Monitoring Mission in the area of conflict.
On December 6, 1994 the CSCE Budapest Summit decided to establish a co-chairmanship of the Minsk Conference. The Heads of State and Government directed the co-chairmen of the Minsk Conference to take immediate steps to promote the continuation of the existing cease-fire and, drawing upon the progress already achieved in previous mediation activities, to conduct speedy negotiations for the conclusion of a political agreement on the cessation of the armed conflict, the implementation of which will eliminate major consequences of the conflict for all parties and permit the convening of the Minsk Conference. They expressed also their political will to deploy multinational peacekeeping forces as an essential part of the comprehensive settlement of the conflict. The Heads of States and Governments decided to establish a High-level Planning Group in Vienna to make recommendations on, inter alia, the size and characteristics of the force, command and control, logistics, allocation of units and resources, rules of engagement and arrangements with contributing States Implementing the Budapest decision, the Chairman-in-Office issued on 23 March 1995 the mandate for the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Process (DOC. 525/95).
On the basis of the above-mentioned documents the main objectives of the Minsk Process could be summarized 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.
At the OSCE Lisbon Summit, which took place on 2-3 December 1996, the following principles of settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict were recommended by the CiO the and Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group and supported by all the OSCE Member States except Armenia:
- territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Republic;
- legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh defined in an agreement based on self-determination which confers on Nagorno-Karabakh the highest degree of self-rule within Azerbaijan;
- guaranteed security for Nagorno-Karabakh and its whole population, including mutual obligations to ensure compliance by all the Parties with the provisions of the settlement.
These principles found their way into the Lisbon Document in the form of a statement by OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Mr. Flavio Cotti. All the OSCE participating States except one country – Armenia - supported these principles.
The present arrangement for a three-fold Chairmanship of the Minsk Conference (Russia, France and the United States) was made in 1997, following the Lisbon Summit.
France, Russia and the USA are the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Process since early 1997. The current Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group are:
Mr. Bernard Fassier (France);
Mr. Igor Popov (Russia);
Mr. Robert Bradtke (USA).
The permanent members of the Minsk Group include the following participating States: Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, and Turkey as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan and on a rotating basis the OSCE Troika.
In 1997-1998 the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group elaborated 3 proposals on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. First 2 proposals were rejected by Armenia, the last one by Azerbaijan.
The Co-Chairmen of the MG visit the region to talk with the Parties to the conflict. They also hold meetings with the CiO and other members of the Minsk Group to brief them on the current state of the process.
Starting with 1999, the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in direct dialogue in order to assist the mediators in their efforts aimed at achieving breakthrough in the search for peace.
At the OSCE Summit held in Istanbul on November 18-19, 1999, the Heads of State and Government expressed their support to this dialogue being conducted at the highest political level “with the hope of resuming negotiations within the OSCE Minsk Group”.
The Foreign Ministers of the OSCE participating States in Bucharest and Porto in 2001 and 2002 accordingly, called upon the sides “to achieve an early resolution of the conflict based on norms and principles of international law”.
In Porto the Delegation of Azerbaijan made an interpretative statement to the text of the relevant decision on the conflict that outlined major elements of the position of Azerbaijan with regard to the settlement of the conflict, which is firmly based upon the foundation of international law.
This principled position was reiterated in the interpretative statement of Azerbaijan at the Ministerial meeting in Maastricht in December 2003.
In December 2004, the OSCE Ministerial Council Sofia meeting adopted a statement, which commended the progress achieved in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 2004, in particular the three meetings of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan under the auspices of the Co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group and welcomed the creation of the so-called “Prague Process”, through which four meetings between the Foreign Ministers of both countries had allowed the methodical re-examination of all the parameters of a future settlement.
On January 30 - February 5, 2005, the “OSCE Minsk Group Fact-Finding Mission on Settlements in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan” (Aghdam, Jabrayil, Fizuli, Zangilan, Gubadly, Kalbajar and Lachin) took place as a logical result of Azerbaijan's initiative to include item 163 Situation in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan into the agenda of the 59th session of the UN General Assembly. The main outcome of the mission's activity was the report based on comprehensive facts, both provided by the Azerbaijani side and obtained during studying the situation on the ground. The mission clearly confirmed settlement into the occupied territories, thus having shared the concerns of Azerbaijan. In their turn, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, proceeding from the conclusions contained in the Mission's report, emphasized inadmissibility of changes in the demographic composition of the region and urged appropriate international agencies to conduct needs assessment for resettlement of the population located in the occupied territories and return of the internally displaced persons to their places of permanent residence. The report and recommendations of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs that were based on it, laid down a solid basis for further consideration and resolution of the problem.
In December 2005, the OSCE Ministerial Council Ljubljana meeting in its statement on the conflict took note with satisfaction of the progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations through the “Prague Process” in 2005, and in particular the two meetings of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Warsaw and Kazan under the auspices of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and encouraged the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to use the promising window of opportunity in order to attain within the coming year significant achievements in the settlement of the conflict in the framework of the OSCE Minsk process.
During the period of June-September 2006, international community's attention was drawn to massive fires in the occupied territories, which had resulted in considerable damage to the environment and bio-diversity of Azerbaijan. Concerns over the impact of the fires in the affected territories also led to discussions in the UN General Assembly resulting in the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/60/285 “The Situation in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan” (7 September 2006), which stressed the necessity to urgently conduct an environmental operation to suppress the fires in the affected territories and to overcome their detrimental consequences.
Proceeding from the provisions of the Resolution, as the first step in preparation to the environmental operation, on 3-13 October 2006 the OSCE led Environmental Assessment Mission to the fire-affected territories in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region with a mandate to assess the short-term and long-term impact of the fires on the environment in the fire affected territories, to make recommendations on how to counteract any detrimental impact of the fires and on an environmental operation.
The Report of the OSCE-led Environmental Assessment Mission, which had been submitted to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office by the end of November 2006 and then, as foreseen in the Resolution, forwarded to the United Nations Secretary-General, proved the occurrence, large-scale spread and significant impact of severe fires in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan on people, economy and the environment. It made recommendations on how to rehabilitate the fire-affected areas and outlined a series of actions and projects to prevent the recurrence of such fires.
The statement by the OSCE Ministerial Council Brussels meeting in December 2006 urged the parties to redouble their efforts in the next year to finalize the basic principles for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as soon as possible and called upon them, with the assistance of the international community, to extend co-operation to conduct an environmental operation to suppress the fires in the affected territories and to overcome their detrimental consequences.
On 7-9 February 2007 President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE Goran Lennmarker paid a visit to Azerbaijan. He was received by the President of Azerbaijan and also held meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Delegation of Azerbaijan to OSCE PA and NGOs.
On 4-5 June 2007 OSCE CiO Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain Migel Angel Moratinos paid an official visit to Azerbaijan and held meetings with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other high level officials. During the visit Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, democratic reforms in Azerbaijan and upcoming presidential election were discussed.
On 18-19 October 2007 OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Birchambaut and Head of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre Herbert Salber took part at the working meeting of the Heads of OSCE Field Missions in the South Caucasus. Meanwhile, OSCE SG held meetings with the representatives of the Government of Azerbaijan.
On 29-30 November 2007 15th meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council was held in Madrid. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan in the framework of the MC met with Minsk Group Co-Chairs. The Ministerial Council issued a statement on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict highlighting its support to “the mediation efforts of the Co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group, and their development with the parties of a set of basic principles for the peaceful settlement of the conflict”.
On 28 February 2008 OSCE CiO Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland Illka Kanerva paid an official visit to Azerbaijan and held meetings with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other high level officials. During the visit settlement process of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, democratic development in country and preparation to upcoming presidential election were discussed. The CiO also met Head of Political Parties and took part at the opening ceremony of new building of the OSCE Office in Baku.
On 29-30 July 2008 Special Envoy of the OSCE CiO Heyki Talvitie paid a visit to Azerbaijan in order to discuss the ongoing negotiation process on the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
On 4-5 December 2008 16th meeting of OSCE MC was held in Helsinki. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan met with Armenian counterpart in the margins of the MC with participation of the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries and Minsk Group Co-Chairs. The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries released a joint statement on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict welcoming “the constructive and positive momentum in the peace process for the political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” and commending the signing of the Moscow Declaration by the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.
On 27-28 June 2009 Greek Chairmanship organized an informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the OSCE participating states in Corfu. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the future of the European security. Azerbaijani delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister attended the meeting.
On 1-2 July 2009 OSCE CiO Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Dora Bakoyannis paid an official visit to Azerbaijan and held meetings with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other high-level officials, including the members of the Steering Board of the Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During the visit, the issues of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and current settlement process were discussed.
On 1-2 December 2009 17th meeting of OSCE MC was held in Athens. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan met with Armenian counterpart in the margins of the MC with participation of the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries and Minsk Group Co-chairs. The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries issued a joint statement on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
On 15 February 2010, OSCE CiO Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev visited Azerbaijan and held meetings with senior state officials, representatives of the political parties, as well as, the members of the Steering Board of the Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During the visit, the officials accompanied the OSCE CiO from Kazakhstan and OSCE, including the head of the OSCE HLPG colonel Arman Akishev.
High Level Planning Group
The High Level Planning Group (HLPG) was established on 20 December 1994 in accordance with the Decision of the CSCE Budapest Summit of 1994. The main tasks of the HLPG are as follows:
- to make recommendations for the Chairman-in-Office on developing as soon as possible a plan for the establishment, force structure requirements and operation of a multinational OSCE peacekeeping force;
- to make recommendations on, inter alia, the size and characteristics of the force, command and control, logistics, allocation of units and resources, rules of engagement and arrangements with contributing States.
The HLPG is situated in Vienna and made up of military experts seconded by the OSCE Member States.
The Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office on the Conflict
dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference.
On 28 August 1995, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office appointed a Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office on the Conflict dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference. Since 1 January 1997, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk (Poland) holds this position.
The Chairman-in-Office authorized his Personal Representative to implement the following duties:
- represent the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in issues related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, assist the CiO in achieving an agreement on the cessation of the armed conflict and in creating conditions for the deployment of an OSCE peace-keeping operation, in order to facilitate a lasting comprehensive political settlement of the conflict in all its aspects;
- report on all aspects of his activities to the CiO of the OSCE, report through the CiO to the Co-Chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Conference and, as appropriate, to the Minsk Group, and receive instructions from the CiO;
- assist the Co-Chairmanship at its request;
- assist the High Level Planning Group in planning an OSCE peace-keeping operation in accordance with the Budapest Summit Decisions;
- assist the parties in implementing and developing confidence-building, humanitarian and other measures facilitating the peace process, in particular by encouraging direct contacts;
- Co-operate, as appropriate, with representatives of the United Nations and other international organizations operating in the area of conflict.
One of the main fields of the PR’s current activity is to monitor the cease-fire regime established by the Parties to the conflict in May 1994. With this purpose, the Personal Representative on a regular basis (usually twice a month) visits various sectors of international border between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia as well as the Line of Contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armed forces.
The headquarters of the PR is located in Tbilisi (Georgia). The PR is assisted by 5 Field Assistants appointed by the CiO. Based on the rotation principle Field Assistants are deployed in Baku, Yerevan and Khankendi (the centre of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan).