Key West Talks
For the Resolution of the Karabakh Conflict

Title: History of the Minsk Conference
Date Released:
March 30, 2001
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Helsinki Additional Meeting of the Council for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) on March 24, 1992 requested the Chairman-in-Office (CiO) to convene a conference on Nagorno-Karabakh under the auspices of the CSCE to provide an ongoing forum for negotiations towards a peaceful settlement. The conference was to have taken place in Minsk, but never occurred. The so-called Minsk Group comprising a dozen OSCE states has spearheaded the effort to find a political solution to the conflict. The Minsk Group today includes Norway, Austria, Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, France, the Russian Federation, the United States, as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The December 1994 Budapest Summit established a co-chairmanship for the process. The CiO issued on March 23, 1995 the mandate for the Co-chairmen of the Minsk Process. In early 1997 the Co-Chairmanship was revised to its current composition: the United States, Russian Federation, and France. The current Co-Chair representatives are Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh of the United States, Ambassador Nikolai Gribkov of the Russian Federation, and Ambassador Jean-Jacques Gaillarde of France.

The Minsk Group Co-Chairs are responsible for efforts to advance peace and stability in this region. They frequently visit the region, meeting with the Parties to the conflict (in Baku, Yerevan, and Stepanakert) to promote a peaceful solution and confidence-building measures. They report to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE, formerly CSCE) Chairman-in-Office, currently Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana. The Minsk Process is aided by other complementary OSCE bodies, such as the High-Level Planning Group (HLPG), which is made up of military experts seconded by OSCE participating States, and the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office, who resides in the region.

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