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What was the decision on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue that was reached at the CSCE summit in Budapest on December 4-5, 1994?

The Budapest summit was held on December 4-5, 1994, with all CSCE member state Heads of State and Government in attendance. By decision of the summit, the CSCE name would be changed to OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) from the beginning of the following year. One important decision made during the summit related to the increasing role that CSCE was playing in fostering the restoration of peace and security in Europe.[1] With respect to this, the CSCE member state Heads of States and Governments agreed that a Co-chairmanship of the CSCE Minsk Conference should be established for coordinating all mediation efforts between CSCE countries, and that this should become “the main settlement mechanism, while the Minsk Group [is] used as a platform for political consultations”.[2]

During the Summit, the Heads of States and Governments of the CSCE member states also discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and added an appropriate provision to the document in this respect, which was called “Intensification of CSCE action in relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”. The provision welcomed the achievement of the ceasefire agreement between the parties to the conflict on May 12, 1994 as a result of mediation efforts by Russia, in conjunction with the Minsk Group. It also confirmed the commitment of CSCE member states to UN Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884, and applauded the political support that was given to CSCE by the Security Council for pursuing a peaceful settlement of the conflict between the parties. In this context, it urged the parties to enter into intensified substantive talks and direct contact for achieving the desired result in this issue. The Heads of States and Governments of the CSCE member states also decided to deploy CSCE multinational peacekeeping forces to the region after the respective parties had reached agreement on the cessation of the armed conflict. Therefore, “they requested the Chairman-in-Office to develop as soon as possible a plan for the establishment, composition and operations of such a force, organized on the basis of Chapter III of the Helsinki Document 1992 and in a manner fully consistent with the Charter of the United Nations”.[3] In this context, the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Conference and the Minsk Group should assist the Chairman-in-Office, who would also be supported by the Secretary General. Moreover, after the appropriate consultations between these persons, a committee of high-ranking persons should be established in Vienna, to make recommendations on the issue. The Chairman-in-Office should also look for support from the UN, in the form of technical advice and expertise, and also from the UN Security Council for the possible deployment of peacekeeping forces to the region.[4]

According to analysts, this step was made against the Russian efforts to dominate the peacekeeping forces by Russian Army in the region. Because, before the Budapest Summit, the president of the Russian Federation invited the presidents of both countries to Moscow for having discussion on the deployment of peacekeeping forces to the conflicting area. Deputy Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov represented Azerbaijan at the meeting. According to him, Russia was trying to undermine the coming Budapest agreement. In an interview with the Thomas de Waal, Zulfugarov said, “if they had flown to Budapest from [Moscow], no decision on deploying an international force would have been worked out”.[5] However, the decision that was made at the Budapest summit by the Heads of States and Governments of the CSCE member states to arrange for peacekeeping forces from the army units of the different states prevented Russia from dominating the issue in the region by deploying its military forces there.

[1] Abdullayev, Elshad, The Naqorno-Karabakh Problem in the light of International Law (“Tahsil” Publishing House, 2005), p. 68.

[2] Kazimirov, Vladimir, “Looking for a Way Out of the Karabakh Impasse”, Russian in Global Affairs, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2004, p. 149.

[3] “Intensification of CSCE Action in Relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict” from the Budapest Summit Declaration of CSCE entitled “Towards a Genuine Partnership in a New Era”, December 1994, pp. 5-6.

[4] “Intensification of CSCE Action in Relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict”, pp. 5-6.

[5] De Waal, Thomas, Black Garden (New York University Press, 2003), p. 255.