Overview of Negotiations
The military-political conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan, which dates back to 1918, resumed in 1988 and gradually escalated into an armed confrontation. This happened during the collapse of the Soviet Union, when new independent states emerged in the South Caucasus. Besides regional powers, such as Russia and Iran, the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) assumed the role of the mediator in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
In September 1991, President of Russia Boris Yeltsin
and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev volunteered to mediate
the conflict. After their trip to Stepanakert, negotiation took place
among the representatives of Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia
in the town of Zheleznovodsk (Russian Federation) on September 23, 1991.
A communique was signed on the results of the meeting.
The absence of a defined negotiating status of Nagorno Karabakh allowed dual interpretation of the rights and responsibilities of the Nagorno Karabakh side. Even today, this aspect hinders the effectiveness of the peace effort.
This position of the CSCE Council was distorting the essence of the problem while Nagorno Karabakh authorities demanded explicitness. Due to this, the NKR delegation was not present during the first sessions of the Minsk Group (MG), which were dedicated to the organization of the Minsk Conference. NKR representatives participated in the third session in Rome, having only one item on their agenda - the status of their participation. Subsequently, the Minsk Group worked regularly, until its "Renewed Schedule of Measures" of September 28, 1993 was supported by the sides to the conflict.
After the decision was made to create the Minsk Group on March 26, 1992, the UN Security Council decided not to participate in any peace effort on Nagorno Karabakh, voicing support for the CSCE.
During the course of mediations, the UN Security Council (SC) passed several resolutions in support of the CSCE, namely:
UN SC resolution No.822 of 04/29/93
The participants of the summit decided to create the
Co-Chairmanship of the Minsk Conference and the Minsk Group, where Russia
would have a status of a permanent Co-Chairman. In 1995 along with Russia
the Minsk process was co-chaired by Sweden and in 1996 by Finland. In
the beginning of 1997 a tripartite co-chairmanship was introduced involving
Russia, the United States and France.
Moscow, Setpember 1993 The CSCE Minsk Group proposes the "Schedule of urgent measures to implement UN Security Council Resolution No. 822" to the sides, in which Nagorno Karabakh appears as a side to the conflict for the first time. The UN Security Council Resolution No. 874 of October 14 1993 recommended OSCE Minsk Group's "Schedule of urgent measures" to the sides, and thus, reaffirming recognition of Nagorno Karabakh as a side to the conflict.
Bishkek meeting, May 1994 During the Bishkek meeting (May 4-5 1994) of parliament speakers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh, the sides sign the Bishkek Protocol, which laid ground for the subsequent cease-fire agreement. The Cease-fire Agreement entered force on May 12, 1994. The identical texts of the agreement were signed by the Defense Minister of Armenia, Defense Minister of Azerbaijan and the Commander of the NKR Defense Army.
Budapest summit of CSCE, December 1994 According to the decision of the summit, the mediating efforts of Russia and CSCE were unified at the summit and the Co-Chairmanship of the Minsk Conference and the Minsk Group was introduced. The participating states welcomed the affirmation of the cease-fire agreement reached on May 12 1994 by the sides to the conflict (Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia) and announced their readiness to introduce multinational CSCE peacekeeping forces after the agreement on termination of the conflict is reached by the sides. (An agreement was reached about the creation of the High Level Planning Group of the OSCE.)
During the OSCE Lisbon summit in December 1996, the Acting Chairman made a statement about the principles of Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement, which, if adopted, would have practically predetermined the results of the negotiations. The statement of the OSCE Acting Chairman sabotaged the negotiating process among the parties to the conflict. The consultations on the basis for negotiations between the Co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group and the governments of Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia continued.
May 1997 The OSCE Minsk Conference Co-Chairmanship proposed a new basis for resumption of negotiations. The plan was accepted by Armenia and Azerbaijan, but rejected by Nagorno Karabakh.
September 1997 The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen proposed a stage-by-stage plan for conflict settlement. The plan was accepted by Azerbaijan and Armenia but was rejected by Nagorno Karabakh. The NKR authorities were insisting on the package plan of conflict settlement. The acceptance of the stage-by-stage plan as a basis for settlement lead to an internal political crisis in Armenia. As a result of which President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosian resigned in the beginning of 1998 and the Prime Minister of Armenia Robert Kocharian won the extraordinary elections.
November 1988 The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen proposed a new basis for negotiations, which envisaged a comprehensive settlement of the problem by unconditional resumption of negotiations. Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia accepted this proposal, while Azerbaijan rejected it.
September 15 1992 Contacts between the representatives of Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh in Moscow.
July 28 1993 Martakert region Contact Line. Meeting of government delegations of NKR and Azerbaijan, headed by the Chairman of the NKR Self-Defense Committee S.Sargsian and Azerbaijani Republic State Minister I.Aliyev. Apart from the military persons, representatives of Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs were also in the delegation.
September 12-13 1993 Moscow. Negotiations between the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council (parliament) of Azerbaijani Republic A. Jalilov and NKR Foreign Affairs Minister A. Ghoukasian. A joint communique was adopted.
September 25 1993 Aghdam region Contact Line. Meeting between the Vice Prime Ministers of NKR and Azerbaijan (Zh.Poghosian - A.Abbasov).
September 25 1993 Moscow. Meeting of top leaders of Azerbaijan and NKR.
Summer-Fall 1993 Regular telephone communication between Baku and Stepanakert on the level of military and political leadership of the sides.