3 March 1995
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
Reply to Recommendation 1251 (1994) on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh
(adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 21 February 1995 at the 529th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers has studied with interest, and decided to bring to the attention of their Governments, Recommendation 1251 (1994) of the Parliamentary Assembly on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, adopted on 10 November 1994.
With regard to the support called for by the Assembly to the CSCE's Minsk Group, it draws the attention of the Assembly to the chapter (appended) on "Intensification of CSCE action in relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict" (extract from "II. Regional Issues" of the Decisions adopted at the CSCE Summit in Budapest on 6 December 1994). The Committee of Ministers particularly welcomes this decision.
Where possibilities of political dialogue and opening of co-operation programmes with the authorities of Armenia and Azerbaijan are concerned, the Committee of Ministers, following the Ministerial meeting on 10 November 1994, is concentrating for the moment on the present seven candidate countries (Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Moldova, Russia, "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Ukraine), having decided to intensify such dialogue and co-operation programmes with the aim of enabling these countries to join the Organisation as soon as possible, according to the pace of their democratic development.
Furthermore, it is recalled that, following the special meeting of the Committee of Ministers held in Istanbul (10-11 September 1992), Conclusions of the Chair were issued which welcomed the desire expressed by Armenia and Azerbaijan for a closer relationship with the Council of Europe, "while estimating that a significantly closer relationship would demand not only the implementation of substantial democratic reforms but also their commitment to resolve conflicts by peaceful means."
The Committee of Ministers notes with interest that the Bureau of the Assembly decided on 3 February 1995 to start the procedure for the examination of the application for special guest status presented by the Parliaments of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as of Georgia.
Extract from the Budapest Decisions adopted by the CSCE Summit
(6 December 1994)
II. REGIONAL ISSUES
Intensification of CSCE action in relation to
the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
1. Deploring the continuation of the conflict and the human tragedy involved, the participating States welcomed the confirmation by the parties to the conflict of the cease-fire agreed on 12 May 1994 through the mediation of the Russian Federation in co-operation with the CSCE Minsk Group. They confirmed their commitment to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and welcomed the political support given by the Security Council to the CSCE's efforts towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict. To this end they called on the parties to the conflict to enter into intensified substantive talks, including direct contacts. In this context, they pledged to redouble the efforts and assistance by the CSCE. They strongly endorsed the mediation efforts of the CSCE Minsk Group and expressed appreciation for the crucial contribution of the Russian Federation and the efforts by other individual members of the Minsk Group. They agreed to harmonise these into a single co-ordinated effort within the framework of the CSCE.
2. To this end, they have directed the Chairman-in-Office, in consultation with the participating States and acting as soon as possible, to name co-chairmen of the Minsk Conference to ensure a common and agreed basis for negotiations and to realise full co-ordination in all mediation and negotiation activities. The co-chairmen, guided in all of their negotiating efforts by CSCE principles and an agreed mandate, will jointly chair meetings of the Minsk Group and jointly report to the Chairman-in-Office. They will regularly brief the Permanent Council on the progress of their work.
3. As a first step in this effort, they directed the co-chairmen of the Minsk Conference to take immediate steps to promote, with the support and co-operation of the Russian Federation and other individual members of the Minsk Group, 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 further requested the co-chairmen of the Minsk Conference to continue working with the parties towards further implementation of confidence-building measures, particularly in the humanitarian field. They underlined the need for participating States to take action, both individually and within relevant international organisations, to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of the region with special emphasis on alleviating the plight of refugees.
4. They agreed that, in line with the view of the parties to the conflict, the conclusion of the agreement mentioned above would also make it possible to deploy multinational peacekeeping forces as an essential element for the implementation of the agreement itself. They declared their political will to provide, with an appropriate resolution from the United Nations Security Council, a multinational CSCE peacekeeping force following agreement among the parties for cessation of the armed conflict. They requested the Chairman-in-Office to develop as soon as possible a plan for the establishment, composition and operations of such a force, organised on the basis of Chapter III of the Helsinki Document 1992 and in a manner fully consistent with the Charter of the United Nations. To this end the Chairman-in-Office will be assisted by the co-chairmen of the Minsk Conference and by the Minsk Group, and be supported by the Secretary General; after appropriate consultations he will also 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. He will seek the support of the United Nations on the basis of the stated United Nations readiness to provide technical advice and expertise. He will also seek continuing political support from the United Nations Security Council for the possible deployment of a CSCE peacekeeping force.
5. On the basis of such preparatory work and the relevant provisions of Chapter III of the Helsinki Document 1992, and following agreement and a formal request by the parties to the Chairman-in-Office through the co-chairmen of the Minsk Conference, the Permanent Council will take a decision on the establishment of the CSCE peacekeeping operation.