The Foreign Ministry of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was established on July 23, 1993, by the order of the Chairman of the NKR State Defense Committee, Robert Kocharyan.
It was amidst the difficult period of ongoing military hostilities, when the Armenians of Artsakh were forced to defend their right to life and liberty in a war unleashed by Azerbaijan.
In spite of wartime difficulties, there was a need to create a Foreign Ministry in the process of building an independent statehood: the Ministry was designed to fully represent and defend the interests of the young republic in the diplomatic sphere, and to carry out an effective and responsible foreign policy. The need for formation of the MFA was also due to the fact that, in parallel with the ongoing military operations, negotiations were being held between the conflicting parties, including in the framework of the CSCE /OSCE Minsk Group formed in 1992.
From the first day of its establishment, the NKR Ministry of Foreign Affairs has had active participation in the negotiations on the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict both within the framework of the Minsk process and bilaterally between the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan. The newly established MFA also contributed to concluding a ceasefire agreement in May 1994 mediated by the Russian Federation. The agreement ended the large-scale hostilities, thereby transferring the conflict into the political realm.
Today the NKR MFA carries out activities aimed at:
- International recognition of the independence of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic;
- Final settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict by peaceful means;
- Strengthening the external security of the NKR;
- Representing and defending the interests of the Republic in the sphere of foreign policy;
- Developing and deepening international ties;
- Providing external favourable conditions for sustainable economic development of the Republic and for attracting foreign investments;
- Strengthening cooperation with the Armenian Diaspora abroad.
Arkady Ghukasyan, Advisor for Political Affairs to the Chairman of the NKR State Committee of Defense, was appointed the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic. Subsequently, the Foreign Ministry was headed by Naira Melkumyan, Ashot Ghulyan, Arman Melikyan, Georgy Petrosyan and Vasily Atajanyan (as acting minister), Karen Mirzoyan.
Since September 2017, Masis Mayilian has been the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh.