WASHINGTON, DC — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned a small group of lawmakers last week that his department is tracking the possibility that Azerbaijan could soon invade Armenia, according to two people familiar with the conversation, POLITICO reports.
The call indicates the depth of concern in the administration about Azerbaijan’s operations against Nagorno Karabakh and the possibility of the conflict spreading.
In an Oct. 3 phone call, lawmakers pressed Blinken on possible measures against Aliyev in response to his country’s invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh in September, said the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss the sensitive call.
Blinken responded that the State Department was looking at avenues to hold Azerbaijan accountable and isn’t planning to renew a long-standing waiver that allows the U.S. to provide military assistance to Baku. He added that State saw a possibility that Azerbaijan would invade southern Armenia in the coming weeks.
Still, Blinken expressed confidence about ongoing diplomatic talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan to the Democratic lawmakers, among them Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Anna Eshoo of California, and Frank Pallone of New Jersey.
Two additional people confirmed that a briefing happened on the situation in Azerbaijan, but did not provide details.
In a statement to POLITICO, the State Department declined to comment on the call, but emphasized the department’s commitment to “Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and resolving conflict through “direct talks.”