YEREVAN — The United States has again called for a negotiated settlement of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, this time raising the issue of the region’s status.
U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Lynne Tracy said while visiting the country’s Syunik region that the consequences of the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh have not been overcome and that the conflict remains unresolved because the status of the region remains to be decided.
“We will continue to work through our position as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair to work towards that goal of bringing down violence, of de-escalation so that we can get to some of the other very critical issues that need to be discussed,” the American diplomat told reporters in Syunik, stressing that this includes the elimination of consequences of the war and final settlement of other issues.
Commenting on security issues and border incidents, the Ambassador said she has already spoken on these issues, the State Department has also spoken from Washington on these issues on several occasions.
“I think you may also know that in July I visited Gegharkunik and one of these border areas where there have been tensions and violence. Let me just make very clear: we are calling for de-escalation and a separation of forces to try to bring down the violence,” the Ambassador said.
The US Ambassador noted that the solution of these issues is very important because civilians appear in the middle of the conflict and are being affected in terms of their safety and security in their own homes. “This is why there is such urgency in addressing these issues,” she added.
The United States has repeatedly called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to return as soon as possible to substantive talks under the auspices of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to find a comprehensive solution to the issue.
Official Yerevan has repeatedly expressed readiness to engage in such talks. Earlier this month Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan even said that Yerevan was ready for talks at the high and highest levels and expected “specific proposals.”
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stated that after last year’s 44-day war Baku considers the Karabakh conflict resolved and sees no reasons to continue to talk about the region’s status as part of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Instead, he has suggested that Armenia and Azerbaijan start working on a comprehensive peace treaty that would include recognition of each other’s Soviet-era borders, including Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory.
Foreign Minister of NKR Davit Babayan considers the U.S. ambassador’s statement in Syunik very important.
He said that since the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which also includes Russia and France, believe that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status remains unresolved and that it is still on the agenda, Aliyev “cannot achieve the realization of his expansionist plans.”
“France has said it, Russia has said it several times, Putin has said that the status of Karabakh is a complicated issue and should be left to the future, that is, with that he emphasized that this issue is not closed and is still on the agenda. Now that the U.S. ambassador is stating this, we can say that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have the same approach, which is very important. It means that the issue is not closed. It is also a message to Aliyev that the conflict is not settled yet and the issue of the status remains. This is what we have said many times,” Babayan said.