Asked by a reporter about whether the U.S. remained optimistic about peace prospects in the region after the latest escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh in early August, Price said: “We are still working to do what we can to facilitate what we hope to see, and that is a comprehensive long-term peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. You know that Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken recently had an opportunity to engage with the leaders of these countries. We did so, registering our deep concern about the recent fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, including the casualties and the loss of life that had resulted from that.”
The spokesman for the Department of State said that Washington urged “immediate steps to reduce tensions and to avoid further escalations between the parties.”
“And the recent increase in tensions underscores, we believe, the need for a negotiated, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement of all remaining issues related to or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. So while we’ve seen an intensification of tensions resulting in some violence, we are going to remain committed to working with the parties. We will continue to do so bilaterally, but also with likeminded partners in the EU and through our role as an OSCE Minsk co-chair to help the countries find that long-term comprehensive peace,” Price added.
Asked by the reporter whether Washington still saw the same level of “historic opportunities” as three weeks ago and “how much it has faded away”, Price said: “We absolutely still see an opportunity here despite the setbacks. We always recognized this was never going to be a linear process. We believe that through continued dialogue, continued engagement, including at the senior levels, we will be in a position to do everything we can to help advance that long-term comprehensive peace.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for continued dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan as he phoned the leaders of the two states on August 5 to discuss the latest upsurge in violence in Nagorno-Karabakh in which at least two Armenian and one Azerbaijani soldiers were killed.
Days before that escalation, on July 25, Blinken also held phone calls with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, of Armenia, and President Ilham Aliyev, of Azerbaijan, after which he said that he saw a “historic opportunity to achieve peace in the region.”