“Our message has been consistent for some time,” Ned Price, the U.S. State Department spokesman, said on Monday. “We call on Azerbaijan to return troops to their initial positions. We urge disengagement of military forces and work to resolve all outstanding issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan through peaceful negotiations.”
“The use of force is not an acceptable path,” Price told a daily news briefing in Washington. “We’ve made that clear privately. We’ve also made that clear publicly, and we’re glad that our continued engagement, including at high levels, including last week in New York, with both countries has helped to halt the hostilities.”
Price referred to the meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on September 19. No concrete agreements were announced after the talks held on the sidelines of an annual session of the UN General Assembly.
Blinken reportedly urged the two ministers to meet again before the end of September. Price would not say whether such a meeting will take place in the coming days.
He also declined to shed light on other Armenian and Azerbaijani officials’ ongoing visits to Washington. A senior aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried earlier on Monday.
“We are in regular contact with both Armenian and Azeri officials,” said Price. “That will continue.”
The conflicting sides blame each other for the September 13-14 fighting that left at least 280 soldiers dead. Azerbaijani troops reportedly attacked and seized some of the Armenian army positions along the long border between the two states. Blinken urged Aliyev to “cease hostilities” when they spoke by phone during what was the worst escalation of the conflict since the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday likewise called for the Azerbaijani troop withdrawal. Meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Paris, Macron said Baku should also stop using or threatening to use force to resolve the conflict with Armenia.