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OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship Comprehensive Agreement to Resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict (Package Deal)

July 18, 1997

Preamble

The Parties, well aware of the benefits of peace and cooperation in the region to the prosperity and well-being of their peoples, are determined to bring about a peaceful resolution to the long-standing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The settlement set out below will establish the basis for cooperative economic development of the Caucasus, allowing the people of the region to live normal, productive lives under democratic institutions, with a rising standard of living and a promising future. Cooperation under this agreement will lead to normal trade, transportation and communications links throughout the region, allow people to reconstruct their home towns and villages with the assistance of international institutions, produce the stability necessary for a major increase in external investment in the region, and open the way for mutually beneficial trade leading to the realization, for all of the people, of the natural prosperity inherent in the Caucasus region. Reconciliation and interaction among the peoples will unleash their enormous potential for the good of their neighbors and for the people of the world.

Thus, the Parties, being committed to the provisions of the UN Charter, to the basic principles and decisions of the OSCE and the universally accepted norms of international law, and to the full implementation of Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, agree hereby to take the steps outlined in Agreement I to cease the armed conflict and to reestablish normal relations, and to reach agreements on Nagorno-Karabakh’s final status outlined in Agreement II.

Agreement I — CESSATION OF ARMED CONFLICT

The Parties undertake to:

I. Renounce the use of armed force to settle disputes among them, including, for the implementation of this Agreement.

II. Withdraw all armed forces in two stages:

In the First Stage, forces along the current line of contact to the east and south of Nagorno-Karabakh will be withdrawn several kilometres to lines delineated in Annex 1, with due consideration for the recommendations of the OSCE High Level Planning Group (“HLPG”), to facilitate initial deployment of the vanguard of an OSCE multinational force in a militarily sound transitional buffer zone, to separate the Parties along that line and to provide security during the second stage of withdrawals.

In the Second Stage, forces will withdraw in accordance with the schedule set forth in Annex 1 as follows:

A. The forces of Armenia to within the boundaries of the Republic of Armenia.

B. The forces of Nagorno-Karabakh to within the 1988 boundaries of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast’ (with exceptions listed below, paragraphs VIII and IX).

C. The forces of Azerbaijan to lines set forth in Annex 1 based on the recommendations of the High Level Planning Group.

D. Heavy armaments shall be withdrawn farther, to positions specified in Annex 1, on the basis of the recommendations of the High Level Planning Group, with requirements for transparency and reporting as set forth in that Annex.

III. Respect the resultant zone as a Zone of Separation in which OSCE Peace-keeping forces together with the Permanent Mixed Commission shall be responsible for security. The forces of no side shall be permitted to enter the Zone of Separation except under the auspices of the OSCE peace-keeping force and Permanent Mixed Commission as outlined in Annex II. It will envisage formation of mutually agreed units for border service, mine clearing and civilian police. The Parties agree to cease all military flights in the Zone of Separation and in the Buffer Zone.

IV. Facilitate the deployment of an OSCE multi-national peace-keeping force in a Buffer Zone to guarantee security jointly with the Permanent Mixed Commission. The OSCE PKF may be constituted by the OSCE and mandated by Resolution of the UN Security Council, with mandate renewable upon recommendation of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.

V. Implement a return of displaced persons to their former places of permanent residence within the Zone of Separation. The security of the returning population shall be under the monitored by the OSCE peace-keeping force, which shall ensure the Party that the demilitarized status of the Zone is kept.

VI. Simultaneously with the withdrawal, work through the Permanent Mixed Commission to open roads, railroads, power, communications, trade and other links, including other work necessary to accomplish this. The parties shall guarantee use of these links to all, including ethnic minorities, guaranteeing the latter access to their co-ethnics elsewhere in the region. Each Party commits itself to lift all blockades and facilitate delivery of humanitarian and other assistance to all the other parties without hindrance. Armenia and Azerbaijan shall guarantee free rail communication to each other, in particular on the route Baku-Horadiz-Mehri-Ordubad-Nakhchivan-Yerevan.

VII. Cooperate with the ICRC, UNHCR and other international humanitarian organizations to ensure the return of all persons detained in connection with the conflict, investigation of the fate of those missing in action and the repatriation of all remains.

VIII. The following arrangement for the Lachin Corridor:

A. Azerbaijan shall lease the Corridor to the OSCE, which shall contract for the Corridor’s exclusive use by the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities (with exceptions for transit noted below, point E).

B. The OSCE shall oversee security in cooperation with the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities.

C. The boundaries of the Lachin Corridor shall be as drawn in Annex II, with recommendations of the Permanent Mixed Commission duly taken into account.

D. The OSCE shall oversee the building of a road bypassing the town of Lachin. Once the road is complete, the town of Lachin shall be excluded from the Lachin corridor. It shall return to Azerbaijani administration (as part of the Zone of Separation) and its previous residents may return.

E. No permanent settlement or military forces other than the authorized security contingent shall be permitted in the Corridor. OSCE officials, monitors and peace-keepers have the right to transit in any direction upon prior notification, as do Azeri residents of the region transiting in the direction between Lachin and Qubatly regions or vice versa. Areas of the Lachin region outside the Corridor shall be part of the Zone of Separation.

IX. The following arrangement for the town of Shusha and Shaumyan District:

A. The Parties shall withdraw military units from the two areas with the exception of anti-aircraft units with limited support personnel.

B. Local administrations will assist in the deployment of ODIHR observers.

C. Displaced persons may return to their former places of permanent residence. Their security shall be guaranteed by respective local authorities.

D. Returning residents shall enjoy full civil rights, including the right to form political parties. They shall be represented in the Parliaments in Baku and Stepanakert, respectively, and in elected councils, police and security forces in these localities in accordance with their percentage of the population in the localities.

E. The Permanent Mixed Commission shall coordinate international assistance to reconstruct in these localities equitably and to the benefit of both populations.

F. Residents of the town of Shusha and Shaumyan district shall have guaranteed road access, telecommunication and other links to the rest of Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, respectively.

X. Establish a Permanent Mixed Commission (PMC) to supervise implementation of the provisions of this Agreement with regard to issues affecting Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. The PMC shall have three Co-Chairs: one Azerbaijani, one from Nagorno-Karabakh and a Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office. The primary responsibility of the Azerbaijani and Nagorno-Karabakh Co-Chairs shall be implementation of the Agreement; the primary responsibility of the OSCE Co-Chair shall be to mediate and arbitrate cases of disagreement. The PMC shall have the following Subcommissions: the Military Subcommission, the Economic Subcommission and the Human Rights and Cultural Subcommission. The duties of the PMC and the subcommissions are outlined in Annex II.

XI. Establish full diplomatic relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Republic.

XII. Create an Armenian-Azerbaijani Binational Commission (AABC), with one Co-Chair from the Republic of Armenia and one from the Azerbaijan Republic. The OSCE CiO shall be represented on the Commission. The AABC shall have the responsibility of preventing border incidents, conduct liaison between border troops and other relevant security forces of both countries; and monitors arrangements for opening roads, railroads, trade, communications, pipelines and other links.

XIII. The UN Security Council shall serve as guarantor to the present agreement.

XIV. This agreement shall be in effect until a comprehensive settlement agreement is signed at the OSCE Minsk Conference, which is to establish, in particular, permanent mechanisms of security and peacekeeping to replace those envisaged by this Agreement.

Annex I

Implementation of troop withdrawal and return of the displaced persons, geographic parameters, schedules and security issues.

Annex II

Intermediate security measures: the mandate of the Commissions, parameters of monitoring and of the security regime. 

Agreement II: STATUS

Preamble:

The status of Nagorno-Karabakh is of interest to the international community, including the Republic of Armenia, and may not be determined by unilateral action either of the Azerbaijan Republic or of the authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh. The status shall be determined by the following parameters:

I. Recognition by all the Parties to the conflict of the territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

II. Nagorno-Karabakh is a statal and territorial formation, within the borders of Azerbaijan, whose self-determination shall include the rights and privileges listed below, as formalized in an agreement between the two, ratified by the Minsk Conference and incorporated into the constitutions of Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh.

III. Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhchivan shall have the right to free and unhindered transport and communications access to both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

IV. The administrative borders of Nagorno-Karabakh are established as the borders of the former NKAO.

V. Nagorno-Karabakh shall have its own constitution, adopted by the people of Nagorno-Karabakh in a referendum. This constitution shall incorporate the formal agreement between the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and Azerbaijan on the form of self-determination on the basis of this document. Azerbaijan will likewise amend its constitution to incorporate these agreements. Nagorno-Karabakh shall have its own flag, seal and anthem.

VI. The constitution and laws of Nagorno-Karabakh shall be in effect on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The laws, regulations and executive decisions of Azerbaijan shall be in effect on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh if they do not contradict the constitution and laws of the latter.

VII. Nagorno-Karabakh shall autonomously form its legislative, executive and judicial authorities.

VIII. The population of Nagorno-Karabakh shall elect representatives to the Parliament of Azerbaijan, and shall participate in the election of the president of Azerbaijan.

IX. Nagorno-Karabakh will have the right to establish direct external contacts in the areas of economics, science, culture, sports and humanitarian affairs with foreign states and international organizations with appropriate representation abroad. Political parties within Nagorno-Karabakh shall have the right to establish links with political parties in other countries.

X. Citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh shall bear Azerbaijani passports with the special notation, “Nagorno-Karabakh.” Citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh shall not be considered foreigners under Armenian law1, may emigrate at any time to Armenia and may take up Armenian citizenship upon permanent emigration to the Republic of Armenia2.

XI. Nagorno-Karabakh shall be a free economic zone with free circulation of currencies.

XII. Nagorno-Karabakh shall possess National Guard and Police forces. Citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh have the right to fulfill their service obligations on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

XIII. The army, security and police forces of Azerbaijan will not have the right to enter the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh except with the permission of the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities.

XIV. The budget of Nagorno-Karabakh shall consist of receipts derived from its own resources. The Nagorno-Karabakh Government shall encourage and guarantee investment by Azerbaijani and foreign persons and companies.

XV. Nagorno-Karabakh is multi-ethnic; each citizen has the right to use his or her native language in all official and non-official contexts.

XVI. The UN Security Council shall serve as guarantor to the present agreement.

Confidence-Building Measures for the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

As a demonstration of the parties’ respective commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, they could implement any or all of the following CSBMs in advance of any other agreement:

  • Azerbaijan and Armenia could commit themselves to immediate reactivation of the cease-fire regime along their border in the Ijevan-Qazax sector. The regime, which was applied in 1992, involved a telephone hot-line and joint border patrols.
  • The Parties could concur in an increase in the size of the CiO’s monitoring mission for additional Nagorno-Karabakh-related monitoring, for example along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the Ijevan-Qazax sector.
  • Dialogue through UNHCR/ICRC for a humanitarian needs assessment (both for Azerbaijani IDPs and within Nagorno-Karabakh). This could proceed following concurrence of either the UNHCR or ICRC.
  • Opening daily or weekly markets in the Nagorno-Karabakh region with access for both Armenians and Azeris. This would require establishing a crossing point, opening and demining a roadway to the market site, and agreeing on modalities of transit regimes and merchant/product guidelines.