“It is important that Armenia and Azerbaijan discuss and resolve issues directly to benefit the region. We would welcome a role in facilitating those talks. We’ve seen other countries offer to facilitate those talks. We think it’s important that the two countries talk face to face to reach a durable agreement,” Matthew Miller said.
Miller declined to speak about Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations at the level of foreign ministers that had reportedly been scheduled to take place in Washington on November 20, but were not held due to Azerbaijan’s refusal.
Over the weekend Azerbaijan said it no longer saw a mediating role for the United States, citing allegedly “one-sided and biased” remarks by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien made during a congressional hearing on Nagorno-Karabakh on November 15.
At the same time, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry indicated that Baku remained open to the possibility of European Union-mediated talks as well as direct talks with Armenia.
Asked whether the U.S. still continues “offering Washington as a potential,” Miller said: “As I just said, we would be willing to facilitate those talks, as we have in the past, and we welcome other countries doing so as well.”
In October, Azerbaijan also refused to attend meetings with Armenia that were to be mediated by EU and European leaders.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the EU’s October 5 summit in Granada, Spain, for talks mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and European Council President Charles Michel.
Pashinian had hoped that they would sign there a document laying out the main parameters of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty. However, Aliyev withdrew from the talks at the last minute.
Baku cited France’s allegedly “biased position” against Azerbaijan as the reason for skipping those talks in Spain.
The Azerbaijani leader also appears to have canceled another meeting which the EU’s Michel planned to host in Brussels in late October.
In his remarks during a joint press conference with the visiting president of Iraq in Baku on Monday Aliyev said that “no international pressure can affect the will of the government and the people of Azerbaijan.”
“Now Armenia is using its diaspora for attacks against Azerbaijan. All that, however, will not give any result. We are ready for peace, which will be based on mutual recognition of territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as on wisdom and historical justice,” Aliyev said, without elaborating.
The Azerbaijani leader further stressed that “Armenia should plan its future based on its own national interests and not on the ambitions of states that are far from the region and have a bloody colonial past.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday also criticized the West for “failing to understand” that “a new era has begun in the region after the Karabakh war.”
“Those who have been provoking Armenia for years, seeking benefit for themselves from the sufferings of all people living in this geographic region, have actually caused the greatest harm to Armenia. Using the Armenians, they condemned them to distrust and gave them empty dreams that were impossible to fulfill. Armenia should see and accept these realities,” the Turkish president said, as quote by Azerbaijan’s AzerTac news agency.
“It would be more correct that the people and leaders of Armenia seek security not thousands of kilometers away, but in peace and cooperation with their neighbors. No amount of munitions sent by Western countries can replace the stability that will bring lasting peace,” he added, calling on Armenia “to shake the hand of peace extended by the Azerbaijanis.”
“I repeat that we, Turkey, are also ready to take necessary steps for the success of the process in cooperation with Azerbaijan,” Erdogan said.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian did not conceal his frustration with what he said was Baku’s reluctance to publicly commit to the three key principles for achieving peace when he addressed the opening meeting of a three-day fall session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Yerevan on Saturday.
Pashinian referred to the principles that Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other’s territorial integrity, that the delimitation of the countries’ borders should be based on the 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration, and that regional trade and transport links should be opened while respecting sovereign jurisdictions. He said those principles had been agreed upon in talks mediated by the West that took place before Azerbaijan carried out in September a one-day military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh that caused virtually the entire Armenian population of the region to flee to Armenia.
Pashinian said the lack of commitment to the principles on the part of Azerbaijan deepened the atmosphere of mistrust and that rhetoric from Azerbaijani officials left open the prospect for renewed “military aggression” against Armenia.
“Yerevan and Baku still speak different diplomatic languages, and we often do not understand each other,” the Armenian leader said.
Despite this, Pashinian and other officials in Yerevan have voiced hopes that a peace treaty with Azerbaijan can be signed “in the coming months.”