YEREVAN (JAM News) — Philip Reeker has been appointed US Co-Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE Minsk Group). Peace talks on the Karabakh conflict were held in this format prior to the 2020 war. At the time, the president of Azerbaijan announced that the conflict no longer exists, that it had been resolved by military means, and the Minsk Group itself had “died, and the resuscitation of the OSCE Minsk Group is impossible.” At the same time, the Armenian authorities consistently emphasize the “importance of using the institution and experience of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing”, and express readiness to continue the dialogue with Azerbaijan in this fashion.
Moreover, the Armenian authorities emphasize the role and necessity of involving the Minsk Group in negotiations not only regarding the Karabakh conflict, but also on the issue of signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan.
The OSCE Minsk Group was established in 1992. It was entrusted with a mediating role in the negotiations about the Karabakh conflict. The group includes Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Belarus, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia, the US and France are co-chairs.
The State Department also made a statement regarding the new appointment:
“The United States is committed to helping Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiate a long-term political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Ambassador Reeker will also work with like-minded partners such as the European Union and, as Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, will promote direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The appointment of Ambassador Reeker during this period also confirms the importance of the role of the United States in the Geneva discussions on Georgia.”
Philip Reeker is reported to be a diplomat with extensive experience. He was Chargé d’Affaires in the UK until recently, and from March 2019 to August 2021 he served as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, also working in Milan as US Consul General and US Ambassador to North Macedonia. He has experience not only in the Balkans but in Iraq.