To invent international conflict prevention in minority-related disputes is no easy matter as such disputes occur usually within the internal affairs of sovereign countries. It was therefore remarkable that, in the multilateral setting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), more than fifty countries agreed to negotiate a mandate that authorises the High Commissioner on National Minorities to conduct preventive diplomacy on their territories

This study examines for the first time the diplomatic negotiations that led to the establishment of the High Commission on National Minorities. It also analyses the High Commissioner's approach to conflict prevention in light of the earliest and the latest drafts of the mandate. This perspective opens new possibilities for defining the objectives, expectations and results of the conflict prevention