Conflict Resolution

One of the challenges facing the OSCE has been focused on conflict resolution and preventing renewed violence in “protracted conflicts.” Though the goal is to find peaceful solutions to them, still no long-term solutions have been found since 1992 for the conflicts: in the Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as in the Transdniestria region—all of which exist at present as international “black holes.” The absence of effective governance contributes to lawlessness, allowing illegal activity to take place in and across these regions, with outsiders unable to exert any influence.

The secessionist regions have achieved varying degrees of de facto independence; although formal independence has not been recognized by most other states in the international community—at least until Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent in late 2008 after its war with Georgia.

Launch of the toolkit on inclusion of women and effective peace processes, Bratislava, December 2019 (OSCE)

Launch of the toolkit on inclusion of women and effective peace processes, Bratislava, December 2019 (OSCE)

OSCE missions were established in the countries with protracted conflicts, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova, although the mandate for the OSCE Missions in the Caucasus were terminated after the lack of full PC consensus on the annual renewal of the FOs in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia and were closed down. The primary responsibility of OSCE FOs in crisis areas has been to try to negotiate a resolution to these conflicts through some kind of political settlement of the status of these regions within the sovereign territory of the country in which they are located. To date the efforts have not yet been successful, while violence resumed in these areas, in 2008 with outbreak of fighting in Georgia in August 2008, with ongoing hostility in Nagorno-Karabakh, and conflict in Donetsk-Luhansk since 2014

The OSCE remains impartial and neutral in working with the conflict resolution process, to be able to dialogue, to talk to all sides, to establish contact. This diplomatic and sensitive approach to field work allows the OSCE FOs to be flexible and accepted by all parties to a given conflict.

Some field operations enable the OSCE to better address crises as and when they develop, and play a critical post-conflict role, helping to restore trust, reinforce confidence and security-building measures. This section describes some techniques used to prevent renewed violence and to try to find a lasting resolution of these conflicts and provides some examples of operations that focus on these areas.