WASHINGTON, DC — The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are scheduled to separately meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday.
It’s not clear whether the envoys will meet with each other or whether U.S. officials will try to convene a trilateral session. But their same-day visits signal that the U.S. is deepening its efforts to tamp down the resurgent conflict, which has killed hundreds of combatants and civilians since late September.
According to U.S. government documents Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov will meet first with Pompeo on Friday morning. His Armenian counterpart, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, will meet shortly afterward with the U.S. secretary of State.
As the fighting has progressed over the past few weeks, Pompeo has appealed to Armenia and Azerbaijan to adhere to agreed-upon cease-fires, but such truces have rapidly collapsed. Pompeo also has urged Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, not to deepen the crisis.
“We now have the Turks, who have stepped in and provided resources to Azerbaijan, increasing the risk, increasing the firepower that’s taking place in this historic fight,” Pompeo told an Atlanta media outlet.
“The resolution of that conflict ought to be done through negotiation and peaceful discussions, not through armed conflict,“ Pompeo added, “and certainly not with third party countries coming in to lend their firepower to what is already a powder keg of a situation.”