YEREVAN — The U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Lynne Tracy, on Tuesday reaffirmed Washington’s stated readiness for renewed cooperation with Russia on facilitating a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“We have said that we are ready to use the [OSCE] Minsk Group as a platform,” Tracy told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service in an interview. “That offer remains open. We have not seen our Russian colleagues responding to that offer.”

In the words of Tracy, the U.S. still hopes that Russia will “re-engage in this format.”
“We certainly continue to the see the Minsk Group as a forum, a platform that has an international mandate to address the situation of Nagorno-Karabakh,” said the ambassador. “We will continue to look for ways to use that forum. We will also work bilaterally with the parties in the region.”

Washington, she went on, is coordinating its Karabakh peace efforts with the European Union, whose top official, Charles Michel, has hosted three meetings of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Brussels since December.

“Some of what we are exploring with the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan is some technical support, some technical assessments that are ultimately aimed at unblocking regional transportation connections,” explained Tracy. She did not elaborate.

“Because of its location Syunik has been a very strong and appropriate focus of concern for its security,” Tracy said in this regard. “But at the same time I would just note, based on a number of trips that I’ve made, that I also see positive things happening there.”
The diplomat pointed to socioeconomic development projects implemented in Syunik by the Armenian government and the provincial administration.

Asked how the U.S. would react to a possible attack on Syunik, Tracy said: “I don’t want to get into hypotheticals or speculate. I think this is why we are so focused on the diplomatic track and maintaining these direct conversations of encouraging progress on a number of fronts: peace negotiations, the [Armenian-Azerbaijani] border commission, unblocking regional transportation linkages. That is, I think, one of the best safeguards for the security of all in the region.”

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