In the late 1990s, the Minsk Group drew up three plans that the warring parties rejected. The first, in July 1997, was described as a comprehensive proposal (informally referred to as a „comprehensive agreement“), consisting of an agreement to end armed hostilities and another proposing a political end point to settle the status of the region. The so-called Kazan formula was added in 2011 under Russian mediation, according to which Armenia would return to Azerbaijan five of the seven adjacent occupied districts around Nagorno-Karabakh, followed by the last two (Lachin and Kalbajar, which border Armenia itself). In return, Azerbaijan would lift its economic blockade against Armenia, where agreements on economic and humanitarian cooperation, demilitarization and non-violence would be signed and peacekeepers would be deployed. In response to the rejection of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Minsk Group proposed in September 1997 a new agreement (known as a „step-by-step approach“) aimed solely at ending the armed conflict through a specific sequence of tactical and logistical measures. It was also rejected by the Armenian government of then-Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. The co-presidency countries urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to use the current ceasefire to negotiate a lasting and lasting peace agreement under the auspices of the co-chairs. In this context, the countries of the co-presidency urge the parties to receive the co-chairs of the region as soon as possible and to engage in substantive negotiations in order to resolve all outstanding issues according to an agreed timetable. Finally, in November 1998, the Minsk Group proposed another comprehensive agreement (the „Common State Agreement“) which provided for the establishment of Nagorno-Karabakh as a so-called „state-territorial formation“ within Azerbaijan`s own „internationally recognized borders“. The proposal would have given Nagorno-Karabakh essentially all the insignia of state sovereignty, including its own passport, currency, national guard and police force.
Azerbaijani armed forces were reportedly prevented from entering Nagorno-Karabakh without their consent, but residents of Nagorno-Karabakh were reportedly allowed to participate in elections in Azerbaijan and in parliament. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group call on Armenia and Azerbaijan to reaffirm their commitments under the Declaration of 9. In November, in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts, as well as their previous ceasefire commitments, continue to be fully implemented. The countries of the co-presidency stress the importance of the measures taken by the Russian Federation in agreement with Azerbaijan and Armenia to ensure the non-resumption of hostilities. They also demand the full and immediate departure of all foreign mercenaries from the region and call on all parties to facilitate such departure. The striking exception is the central issue denied by Armenians and Azerbaijanis: the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan declared the problem resolved. That is, from Baku`s point of view, Karabakh is an ordinary province of Azerbaijan like any other, and reintegration into multilateral diplomacy would be tantamount to letting the status issue enter through the back door, since the OSCE mandate is based on the idea of a comprehensive peace agreement. The only way to resolve the conflict once and for all is through a formal peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Laurence Broers is the Caucasus Program Director at Conciliation Resources, a London-based peace organization, and the author of several books on the region, including Armenia and Azerbaijan: Anatomy of a Rivalry. The last summit between Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian took place on October 16, 2017, organized by the Minsk Group in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Presidents admitted that they had taken appropriate measures to strengthen the negotiation process and reduce tensions on the line of contact.     Consensual decision-making also allows the 57 OSCE member states, including of course Armenia and Azerbaijan, to exercise their right of veto. This cost the OSCE its last permanent field presence in conflict-affected states when its office in Yerevan was closed in 2017 following Azerbaijan`s objections to its support for demining activities in Armenia (the OSCE mission in Azerbaijan was decommissioned in 2014 and closed in 2016). In 2020, as tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan rose, various objections raised within the OSCE in Azerbaijani, Tajik and Turkey contributed to a protracted leadership crisis that weakened the organization. In light of these developments, the founding premises of the Minsk Group`s existence and the presumed source of its authority – that responsible states work together to resolve conflicts according to liberal principles, that these principles could resolve conflicts in the post-socialist space, and that Russia could be integrated into Euro-Atlantic structures – were no longer credible. In an era of increasing multipolarity, the Minsk Group became an artifact of the unipolar moment at the end of the century. The principle of consensus reflected the convergence assumptions of the 1990s in international relations. But it also meant that the OSCE could not be as strong as its participating states allowed. For the Minsk Group to play a role, it would need not only new co-chairs, but also new tasks. But events are evolving and will continue to evolve too quickly for the OSCE`s heavy and large-scale multilateral diplomacy to keep pace.
Proposals for economic and political cooperation in the region itself, including, but not limited to, Turkey`s proposal for a „six-way platform“ (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia and Turkey), are much more important and dynamic than the political schemes described in foreign ministries thousands of miles from the stage. .