25 years ago, the trilateral Agreement on the full cessation of fire and hostilities, signed by Artsakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia with the mediation of Russia, entered into force. On 26-27 July 1994, having signed an additional agreement, all the three parties confirmed the termless character of the cease-fire regime until a final settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict.
The Agreement of May 12, 1994 is of key importance, as it put an end to the war unleashed by the Azerbaijani authorities, transferred the conflict to the political-diplomatic track and created conditions for the parties to focus their efforts directly on finding ways for the final settlement of the conflict through negotiations, with the support of the international mediators.
The signing of this Agreement, which remains so far the only real achievement in the conflict settlement process, was made possible due to some factors. First, the Artsakh Defense Army managed to repel the armed aggression of Azerbaijan, to seriously undermine the military potential of Baku and to force it to negotiate. Second, facing considerable military defeats, the leadership of Azerbaijan not only ceased to hinder the full-fledged involvement of Artsakh in the negotiation process as one of the main parties to the conflict, but had also repeatedly initiated direct contacts with official Stepanakert, including at the top level. Thanks to these contacts, about ten agreements were reached on limitation of hostilities, temporary ceasefire or its expansion, which ultimately led to the signing of the termless Agreement on the full cessation of fire and hostilities.
Today, 25 years later, the Agreement of May 12, 1994 continues to remain the legal basis for preserving the cease-fire regime and maintaining regional peace and security in the South Caucasus. This fact is unconditionally recognized by the international community, as evidenced by the reaction to the April war of 2016 unleashed by Azerbaijan of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing states - Russia, the United States and France, as well as the UN Secretary General, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe who called on the parties to strictly adhere to the Agreement of May 12, 1994 on the full cessation of fire and hostilities and the Agreement of February 6, 1995 on the strengthening of the ceasefire regime.
The effectiveness of the Agreement on the full cessation of fire confirms that the achievement of real progress in the settlement process is possible in the full-fledged trilateral format of negotiations, which, in accordance with international law, provides for the interests and concerns of all the parties to the conflict. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh believes that for giving the appropriate impetus to the conflict settlement process it is necessary, on the one hand, to resume the direct trilateral negotiations, and on the other hand, to consistently strengthen the ceasefire regime, including through the establishment of an international mechanism for monitoring its maintenance, provided for by the Vienna and St. Petersburg Agreements of 2016. It is also important to restore the line of separation of the conflicting forces, which had been agreed and fixed through the mediation of the Russian Ministry of Defense by all the three parties as part of the ceasefire by the cessation of the hostilities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh reiterates the commitment of official Stepanakert to the exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict and calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to abandon its unpromising policy of forced resolution, which will allow to make the peace process irreversible and to establish lasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus region.
City of Stepanakert May 13, 2019