In a statement delivered to the OSCE Special Permanent Council in Vienna, the U.S. mission’s Chargé d’Affaires Courtney E. Austrian also said that “the United States expresses its deep concern over the reports of intensive fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh, including casualties and the loss of life.”
“We are closely following the situation [in Nagorno-Karabakh] and urge immediate steps to reduce tensions and avoid further escalation,” Austrian said.
“As we have said many times at the Permanent Council, the United States emphasizes the importance of a negotiated, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement of all remaining issues related to or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” she added.
The diplomat reminded that last week U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken personally engaged Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev “to urge de-escalation and direct contacts to reduce tensions.”
“The United States is ready to engage bilaterally, with like-minded partners, and through our role as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair to facilitate dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan and help achieve a long-term political settlement to the conflict,” Austrian said.
At least one Azerbaijani and two ethnic Armenian soldiers were killed during the August 1-3 escalation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone that both parties blamed on each other.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for years.
The mostly Armenian-populated region that had the status of an autonomous oblast within Soviet Azerbaijan declared its independence from Baku amid the collapse of the Soviet Union, triggering a 1992-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
The war ended in a Russia-brokered ceasefire, leaving Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenians in control of most of the region as well as several adjacent districts of Azerbaijan proper.
Internationally mediated negotiations with the involvement of the OSCE Minsk Group -- co-chaired by the United States, Russia, and France -- failed to result in a resolution before another large-scale war broke out in September 2020.
The 44-day conflict that killed more than 6,500 people ended in a Moscow-brokered ceasefire, with Azerbaijan regaining control of all districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh as well as large swaths of territory inside the former autonomous oblast itself. Some 2,000 Russian peacekeepers were deployed in the region to oversee the truce.