Reuters reported that Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met with Pompeo for about 40 minutes. Moments after he left, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian arrived for his meeting.
Pompeo tweeted after the separate talks that he discussed with Mnatsakanian and Bayramov “critical steps to halt violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.” “Both [sides] must implement a ceasefire and return to substantive negotiations,” he wrote.
Pompeo did not report any fresh Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements that effect.
The U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, said separately that Pompeo believes a Karabakh settlement should be based on “the Helsinki Final Act principles of the non-use or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Mnatsakanian told Pompeo that Azerbaijan is unwilling to respect ceasefire agreements and is seeking a military solution to the Karabakh conflict. He also condemned Turkey’s military support for Azerbaijan.
For his part, Bayramov was reported to brief Pompeo on Azerbaijan’s “just position” and Armenia’s “destructive policy” on the Karabakh conflict.
Meanwhile, Trump said Washington is “working with Armenia” with regard to de-escalating the conflict.
“We have a very good relationship with Armenia,” Trump told reporters at the White Hose. “They are very good people, they are so dedicated. They are incredible people, and we will see what happens.”
“I think really good progress is being made with respect to that,” he said. “We have a lot of people living in this country originally from Armenia. They are great people and we’re going to help them.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope on Thursday that the U.S. will assist Russia in its efforts to get the conflicting parties to respect a ceasefire agreement that was brokered by Moscow on October 10.
The U.S. Russia and France have been leading international efforts to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in their capacity as co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. They have repeatedly issued joint statements calling for an immediate end to the hostilities.
The hostilities continued unabated on Friday, with both sides reporting heavy fighting at various sections of the “line of contact” around Karabakh.
Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army said it continued to repel Azerbaijani attacks on its frontline positions south of the disputed region. The Defense Army released the names of 27 more Armenian soldier killed in action, raising to 924 the total number of combat deaths within its ranks.
The Azerbaijani army has still not disclosed its combat casualties.
There were also reports of continued shelling of civilian areas on either side of the “line of contact.”
In particular, Karabakh’s capital Stepanakert came under Azerbaijani rocket fire for the first time in four days. Local authorities said the rocket strike destroyed several buildings and shops and damaged a gas pipeline.
“The Defense Army will strike back shortly,” a Karabakh official said following the late-night shelling.