OSCE Minsk Group
Formation24 March 1992; 29 years ago (1992-03-24)
PurposeEncourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh
Permanent members
  • France (Stéphane Visconti)
  • Russia (Igor Popov)
  • United States (Andrew Schofer)

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.[1]

The main objectives of the Minsk Process are as follows:

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, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Turkey as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan. On a rotating basis, the OSCE Troika is also a permanent member.[2]

The co-chairmen of the Minsk Group are: Ambassador Brice Roquefeuil[3] of France, Ambassador Igor Khovaev[4] of the Russian Federation, and Ambassador Andrew Schofer[5] of the United States.

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.


In early 2001 representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, France, Russia and the United States met in Paris and in Key West, Florida.[6] The talks in Key West however were largely kept secret and were not followed upon.

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.[7]

On 19 December 2015, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev held a summit in Bern, Switzerland under the auspices of the Co-Chairs. The Presidents supported ongoing work to reduce the risk of violence and confirmed their readiness to continue engagement on a settlement.[8]

The last summit between Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan took part on October 16, 2017 organized by Minsk Group in Geneva, Switzerland. The presidents admitted to take appropriate actions in order to reinforce the negotiations process and decrease tensions on the Line of Contact.[9][10][11][12]

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, while Russia and Armenia are strategic allies, something Azerbaijan argues is grounds for them to consider it as favouring the Armenians in the conflict. Many Azerbaijanis accuse the Minsk Group of not being effective and fair in their work.[13] Azerbaijani media have accused certain co-chairs (such as Vladimir Kazimirov of Russia and Jacques Faure of France) of "observing the decencies" only as incumbents and going on to become "Armenia's best friends" soon after retiring from their position as mediators.[14]

In 2016, the Minsk Group was criticised for alleged inefficacy by president Ilham Aliyev.[15] It was also criticized by former president of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev.[16]

During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, France was the recipient of the "harshest criticism" in Azerbaijan.[17] In Azerbaijan, France is viewed as being "unworthy" to hold the position of co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group.[17] During the war, French president Emmanuel Macron also received much criticism on Azerbaijani oppositional social media and Azerbaijani official mass media due to his "perceived support" of Armenia.[17]

Possible candidates for co-chairmanship

Some argue that the failure of the Minsk Group has caused the belligerent parties, especially Azerbaijan, to search for more effective mechanisms and new approaches. The replacement of certain co-chairs or the addition of new ones are the most commonly voiced ideas. As the present[when?] mediators would probably not withdraw or terminate the mediation efforts, since their national interests are at stake and they do not want another mediator to undertake initiation, the most feasible proposal is to include new co-chairs in the Minsk Group.

In 2015, Azay Guliyev, an Azerbaijani member of parliament, proposed inclusion of Turkey and Germany to the co-chairmanship institute.[18]

However, according to Matthew Bryza, former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, the EU would make more sense because it would represent more of Europe and has experience mediating similar conflicts in the Balkans.[19]

Azerbaijani foreign affairs expert Rusif Huseynov proposed Kazakhstan as an additional co-chair in the Minsk Group. According to him, Kazakhstan, which has turned into a big actor in the post-Soviet area, has titular population that is culturally similar to the Azerbaijanis, but is a member of several Kremlin-led organizations together with Armenia. Therefore, Kazakhstan could be equally close or distant to either warring side. Kazakhstan's previous experience in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict also makes it a good candidate for the mediation process.[20]

See also


  1. ^ "Mandate for the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Process - OSCE". www.osce.org. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Who we are". www.osce.org. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  3. ^ "Brice Roquefeuil devient ambassadeur pour le partenariat" (in French). Retrieved 2021-11-17.
  4. ^ "Armenian FM receives Russian Co-Chair of OSCE Minsk Group".
  5. ^ "Appointment of U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  6. ^ U.S. Department of State – Armenia and Azerbaijan: Key West Peace Talks
  7. ^ International Protection Considerations Regarding Azerbaijani Asylum-Seekers and Refugees. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Geneva. September 2003.
  8. ^ "Press Statement by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group" (Press release). OSCE. 19 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group | OSCE". www.osce.org. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  10. ^ "Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents met in Geneva (updated)". Common Space. Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  11. ^ "Armenia, Azerbaijan and OSCE discussed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh". frontnews.eu. Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  12. ^ "Azerbaijan and Armenia meet over disputed territory". euronews. 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  13. ^ Azerbaijan’s Relations With Minsk Group Hit New Low
  14. ^ Nair Aliyev. Минская группа для Армении. Haqqin.az. 22 August 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  15. ^ Алиев раскритиковал работу Минской группы ОБСЕ по урегулированию карабахского конфликта. Kavkazsky Uzel. 30 January 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  16. ^ Kamran Behbudov. Роль общенационального лидера Гейдара Алиева в урегулировании армяно-азербайджанского нагорно-карабахского конфликта. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  17. ^ a b c Gamaghelyan, Philip; Rumyantsev, Sergey (2021). "The road to the Second Karabakh War: the role of ethno-centric narratives in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict". Caucasus Survey. 9 (3): 331. doi:10.1080/23761199.2021.1932068.
  18. ^ "Azərbaycanlı deputat Almaniyanın və Türkiyənin Minsk qrupunun həmsədrliyinə gətirilməsi təklifini irəli sürüb". azertag.az. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  19. ^ "OSCE Minsk Group's format changing on agenda". azernews.az. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Time to reform the Minsk Group". thepoliticon.net. Retrieved 23 April 2018.

Further reading