CSCE First Additional Meeting of the Ministerial Council, Helsinki, 24 March 1992

3. The Ministers expressed their deep concern about the continuing escalation of the armed conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh and the resulting increased suffering and loss of life of the inhabitants. They held an extensive discussion of ways and means to end the conflict, bearing in mind the implications for regional and international security which could result from its continuation and further extension. They called upon all parties to exercise restraint.

4. The Ministers reiterated in the strongest terms the call for an immediate and effective cease-fire including an active commitment by responsible local commanders to its implementation. They issued an appeal for the re-establishment of conditions for confidence and constructive dialogue, including the cessation of measures of economic and political constraint.

5. The Ministers reviewed the ongoing action within the CSCE framework and endorsed in their entirety the decisions taken by the Committee of Senior Officials. They expressed their appreciation for the activities of the Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE undertaken in this connection and stressed their willingness to extend all possible assistance to him whenever it is needed.

6. The Ministers welcomed the complementary efforts made by the European Community and its member States, by the member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States, by the members of the North Atlantic Co-operation Council, and, in particular, the efforts made by the United Nations Secretary-General.

They requested the Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE to keep in close contact with the United Nations in this respect and to arrange for regular exchanges of information.

The Ministers agreed that the CSCE must play a major role in promoting a peace process relating to the conflict. They agreed that the situation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh requires further CSCE action.

7. The Ministers mandated the Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE Council of Ministers, Mr. Jirí Dienstbier, to visit the region shortly in order to contribute, in particular, to the establishment and maintenance of an effective cease-fire as well as to the establishment of a framework for an overall peaceful settlement.

8. The Ministers expressed their firm conviction that a conference on Nagorno-Karabakh under the auspices of the CSCE would 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 Ministers therefore requested the Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE Council of Ministers to convene such a conference as soon as possible.

9. The Ministers furthermore agreed that this Conference, which will take place in Minsk, will have as participants Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Russian Federation, Sweden, Turkey and United States of America. Elected and other representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh will be invited to the Conference as interested parties by the Chairman of the Conference after consultation with the States participating at the Conference. The Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE Council will appoint the Chairman of the Conference on Nagorno-Karabakh under the auspices of the CSCE.

10. The Ministers urged all CSCE participating States and all concerned parties to take all necessary steps to ensure that humanitarian assistance is provided to all those in need through rapid and effective means including safe corridors under international control.

11. The Ministers noted the commitment of Armenia and Azerbaijan to fully support the mission of the Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE Council to the region as well as other actions on which the CSCE Council has agreed and appeal to these two countries to pursue actively this commitment to reach a lasting, peaceful solution.

OSCE-Istanbul Summit 1999
The Istanbul Declaration, 18-19 November 1999

16. With regard to the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia, some progress has been made towards solving the conflict. We emphasize the importance of maintaining and intensifying the dialogue which is now under way. In light of further progress, we believe that an early meeting in Vienna, with participation of experts from this region, should be used to take decisive steps towards a solution. The establishment by the parties concerned of a legal framework for refugee and internally displaced persons housing and property restitution will facilitate the early return of refugees and internally displaced persons to the region. We also urge the early signing of the Georgian-Russian economic rehabilitation agreement and encourage further international economic assistance.

17. We continue to support the leading role of the United Nations in Abkhazia, Georgia. We emphasize the importance of breaking the current deadlock with regard to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict. In this respect we - and in particular those of us who belong to the Friends of the United Nations Secretary-General - are ready to work with the United Nations to prepare and submit a draft document addressing the distribution of constitutional competencies between the central authorities of Georgia and authorities of Abkhazia, Georgia. We reiterate our strong condemnation as formulated in the Budapest and Lisbon Summit Documents, of the "ethnic cleansing" resulting in mass destruction and forcible expulsion of predominantly Georgian population in Abkhazia, Georgia, and of the violent acts in May 1998 in the Gali region. In light of the precarious situation of the returnees, we recommend that a fact-finding mission with the participation of the OSCE and the United Nations be dispatched early next year to the Gali region to assess, inter alia, reported cases of continued "ethnic cleansing". Such a mission would provide a basis for increased international support for the unconditional and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons and contribute to the general stability in the area. We consider the so-called presidential elections and referendum in Abkhazia, Georgia, this year as unacceptable and illegitimate.