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Stepan Grigoryan's concept note for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Rose Roth seminar

I would like to point out a few issues that, in our opinion, are now determining the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process.

1. The internal and external frameworks of conflict resolution

The OSCE Minsk Group remains the main framework of conflict resolution. Notwithstanding the often repeated criticism towards the Minsk Group, it may be admitted that it has done a remarkable work – not letting to resume fighting and having developed several options for conflict resolution.
It may also be noted that there have been repeated attempts to involve the UN and the Council of Europe in conflict resolution process, as well as to assign more important role to some states that tried to mediate (e.g. trilateral meetings of presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, meetings of presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey).
The need to enhance the internal framework, the Minsk Group may be emphasised: namely, the opinions of the elected de facto authority and of the Azeri community of Nagorno-Karabakh should be taken into account.

2. Trust building and the role of conflicting parties in resolution process

Solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depends on a number of factors, either internal or external. Apparently, it is hard to expect rapid progress, particularly because of deeply rooted mutual distrust in Armenian and Azeri societies and lack of culture of compromise among the elites. In order to move closer towards a peace treaty, mutual trust between the conflicting parties must be promoted. Civil society institutions of Armenia and Azerbaijan may play an important role in this respect.

3. The Madrid principles and the possibility to conclude an interim framework agreement on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue

Although the sides have serious disagreements, the possibility to conclude an interim framework agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan should not be excluded. Such an agreement could be based on the Madrid principles that include all elements important for the conflicting parties: territorial integrity, nations’ right for self-determination and solution of the conflict without use of force (it should, however, be noted that the latter was shortened – the part about abandonment of the threats to use force was excluded). Thus, some progress achieved in the negotiation process could be established.
It may also be mentioned that even conflicting sides may have matching interests. During the presidential meeting initiated by Russia on 2 November 2008, presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed the so-called Maindorf Declaration. The Minsk Group was mentioned several times in the Maindorf Declaration as the main framework for conflict resolution. Apparently, presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, each following his state’s interests, insisted that the Minsk Group should be mentioned three times. The importance of a multilateral framework for conflict resolution and the dangers connected with excessive involvement of only one mediator are well understood in Armenia and Azerbaijan. In fact, for the first time in the recent history, Armenia and Azerbaijan took a joint action without a previous agreement with each other in a situation when they had matching interests.

4. The Kosovo factor

The Kosovo precedent has seriously influenced the conflicts in the post-Soviet area. Apparently, after recognition of independence of Kosovo (by over 60 states by now) and following recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia (with a reference to the Kosovo precedent), the aspirations of the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh have been substantiated by arguments from recent international practice. Importantly, before the conflict Kosovo had been just autonomy within Serbia (like Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia in Azerbaijan and Georgia, respectively), and Serbian authorities had not recognised the referendum results. Nonetheless, the international community, particularly Western states, recognised independence of Kosovo. Therefore, Kosovo’s independence gained by means of a referendum on its territory and recognised by the international community provided a serious factor determining the conflict resolution processes in the post-Soviet area. The idea of determining the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh by means of a referendum that has been included in the recent options suggested by the Minsk Group was probably a consequence of the Kosovo precedent.

5. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and external factors

Solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depends on actions of external actors seriously. There has recently been an impression that the U.S. and Russia reached a consensus on the issue, as both understood that an artificial prompting of resolution might create difficulties. Armenia and Azerbaijan still have principal disagreements on such crucial issues as withdrawal of armed forces from the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh and time framework for a referendum on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Therefore, at the present stage it is difficult to reach a final peace agreement.


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ACGRC became a member of the Danish Development Research Network


ACGRC became a member of the Black Sea Research Network (BSRN). BSRN is an action-focused and multidisciplinary network of policy-oriented research institutes that develop research programmes on issues of importance to the political, social and economic development of the Black Sea region. It represents an innovative attempt to structure and coordinate a network of research institutes (and researchers) focusing on the wider Black Sea region. The Network is working under the patronage of the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (Greece).


Chairman of the Board of the Analytical Centre on Globalisation and Regional Cooperation Stepan Grigoryan took part in the Czech Television film Sore Spots of Southern Caucasus.
Petruška Šustrová is the script author and Martin Mahdal is cameraman and producer of the film.



ACGRC became a member of the Central and Eastern European Citizens Network (CEE CN). The network was created to provide opportunities for citizens' grassroots initiatives from CEE region to learn, exchange experiences and ideas as well as enhance their organisational growth through establishing and managing a partner relationship among themselves.

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