Azerbaijan is pressing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to dissolve its so-called Minsk Group that has long been spearheading international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on Friday.
“They are trying to start, through the OSCE Secretariat, a process of the dissolution of the Minsk Group,” Oskanian told lawmakers in Yerevan. “They have officially appealed [to the Secretariat.]”
The group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States, was set up in 1992 and has been trying to broke a compromise solution to the Karabakh dispute. Azerbaijani has repeatedly criticized the three nations for their reluctance to restore its control over the disputed enclave but has stopped short of seeking a major change in the format of Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks until now.
Still, official Baku threatened to review its relations with the mediating powers after they voted last Friday against a UN General Assembly resolution that upheld Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh and demanded an “immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces” from occupied Azerbaijani lands. "The UN resolution is a serious message to Armenia and a warning for the co-chairs," Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said at the weekend. "We will cooperate with them on the basis of their position in the UN General Assembly."
For his part, Vilayat Guliev, a former Azerbaijani foreign minister who currently serves as his country’s ambassador to Poland, said on Wednesday that the existence of the Minsk Group has become “useless” and accused its co-chairs of favoring the Armenian side. “The recent vote in the UN on the resolution presented by Azerbaijan once again showed their strange neutrality,” he told the Day.az news service. “It appears that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are more interested in the conflict’s continuation than its fair resolution.”
The Azerbaijani criticism may deal a further blow to the mediators’ hopes for the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani framework peace accord on Karabakh that was formally put forward by them last November. Diplomats involved in the talks said earlier this year that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed on the key points of that accord.