U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton has announced that he will meet with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan who are due to hold fresh talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Washington on Thursday.
Foreign Ministers Zohrab Mnatsakanian and Elmar Mammadyarov scheduled the talks last week following an upsurge in skirmishes along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh. The tensions there escalated in late May after several months of relative calm on the frontlines.
Mnatsakanian flew to Washington earlier this week. He held there on Tuesday what the Armenian Foreign Ministry called a “preparatory meeting” with the U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group. Andrzej Kasprzyk, the longtime head of a small OSCE team monitoring the ceasefire regime in the conflict zone, was also in attendance.
“Looking forward to meetings later this week with the Foreign Minister of Armenia and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, to encourage continued dialogue between them,” Bolton tweeted later on Tuesday.
“The United States stands ready to assist in advancing the cause of peace in the region,” he added.
It was not clear whether Bolton will meet with Mnatsakanian and Mammadyarov separately or in a trilateral format. The two ministers met in Moscow on April 15 in the presence of their Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
Bolton stressed the importance of the conflict’s resolution when he visited Armenia and Azerbaijan in October. Speaking in Yerevan, he said Washington expects Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to take “decisive steps” towards a Karabakh settlement “right after” his widely anticipated victory in the December 2018 parliamentary elections.
Pashinian spoke with Bolton by phone in January one day after meeting with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Davos, Switzerland. He said afterwards that he did not discuss the Karabakh conflict with the U.S. official.