“We firmly believe that continued direct dialogue and diplomacy, not military action, is key to resolving issues and to reaching a comprehensive lasting peace and prosperity for all,” Philip Reeker, a senior adviser for Caucasus negotiations at the State Department, said in a video address released by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia on Friday. “We all understand that this is not easy.”
Washington is “committed to doing everything we can to support your efforts towards a durable peace,” Reeker added, echoing U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks made at the most recent meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers hosted by him in Washington on November 7.
Blinken spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev by phone later in November. He urged the two sides to “schedule further talks as agreed in Washington,” according to the State Department.
Reeker, who is also the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, met with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders during his latest tour of the South Caucasus states.
Aliyev and Pashinian were due to meet in Brussels on December 7. Aliyev cancelled the meeting last week, objecting to French President Emmanuel Macron’s participation in it sought by Yerevan.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov traded fresh accusations on Thursday when they addressed an annual OSCE ministerial conference held in the Polish city of Lodz.
Mirzoyan said that Azerbaijani forces occupied more Armenian territory and committed war crimes during large-scale fighting on the border between the two countries in September. He also deplored Baku’s continuing armed “provocations” at various sections of the border.
Bayramov said, for his part, that progress in Armenian-Azerbaijani talks has been “quite limited” so far because the Armenian side is “imitating” a peace process and not honoring its commitments.