A senior U.S. diplomat urged the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Wednesday to seek a peaceful settlement based on mutual compromise after handing President Serzh Sarkisian a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama.
“All parties will need to compromise if we are going to be successful in finding a peaceful settlement for Nagorno-Karabakh,” James Warlick said during his first visit to Armenia in his capacity as U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Warlick met with Sarkisian late on Wednesday, two days after holding talks in Baku with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. Sarkisian’s office released no details of the meeting, saying only that the U.S. mediator delivered a written message from Obama.
In that letter publicized by the official Armenpress news agency, Obama urged Sarkisian to “take advantage of opportunities for direct dialogue with Azerbaijan in the months ahead” in order to end “the current impasse” in the Karabakh peace process. “With the outlines of the compromise already well established, now is the time for a renewed effort to bring peace to the region,” he wrote.
Obama sent a virtually identical letter to Aliyev on Monday. The U.S. president seemed to voice support for ongoing efforts by the U.S., Russian and French mediators to organize a fresh Armenian-Azerbaijani summit on Karabakh. Aliyev and Sarkisian have not met since January 2012.
Warlick indicated that Obama’s appeals did not herald a unilateral U.S. push for a Karabakh settlement. “I’m here this time to listen and to learn,” he told reporters in Yerevan. “I’m not bringing with me any new proposals at this time. This is my chance to hear from all of the parties.”
“I can assure you that the United States wants to see a negotiated settlement to this long-standing issue and we will work through the Minsk Group to help facilitate that settlement,” said the diplomat.
Warlick proceeded to Karabakh after the news briefing. He is scheduled to meet Karabakh Armenian leaders in Stepanakert on Friday.