Pompeo urges end to Armenia, Azerbaijan conflict but no progress seen

Pompeo urges end to Armenia, Azerbaijan conflict but no progress seen

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Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged an end to the fighting with his colleagues in Azerbaijan and Armenia during a meeting with Nasseno Karabakh on Friday, but there was no sign of progress.

Pompeo and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan in Washington, Jayne Beramov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Zorab Mnatsakayan, held separate meetings in Washington, but did not hold a tripartite meeting.

The State Department said Pompeo has played down expectations and did not speak with any minister. He emphasized the need to end violence and protect civilians.

He reiterated the US position that conflicts should be resolved on the principle of “no use or threat of use of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights and self-determination of people.”

In the battle with Armenia, two ceasefire plans have failed, and they admitted that Azerbaijan has achieved military gains on the ground.

Bellamov said that he told Pompeo that the “Armenian occupation of Nagorno Karabakh must end.” Nagorno-Karabakh is an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan, controlled by the Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan.

“We are committed to finding a political solution (to) the conflict and ready to resume substantive talks immediately,” Bayramov said in a statement after the talks.

“Armenia must stop avoiding meaningful negotiations and choose lasting peace,” he said.

But Armenia said that the aggressor was Azerbaijan, which it accused of intentionally targeting civilian sites.

“There is no way that the security of our compatriots will be compromised. There is no way that we are going to allow another ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Mnatsakanyan said at the Atlantic Council.

He called the talks with Pompeo “very encouraging” and said he pressed concerns about Azerbaijan receiving weapons from its ally Turkey.

“The political and military encouragement of Azerbaijan to entertain the thought that there is a military solution to this conflict has been the role of Turkey,” he said.

The United States has said it is neutral but Pompeo has criticized Turkey and in a recent interview described Armenia s actions as defensive.

Azerbaijan s ambassador in Washington, Elin Suleymanov, said that Pompeo “either misspoke or was misunderstood” and said during the meeting that the United States was impartial.

“We appreciate the American role. We also hope that America remains an honest broker, impartial broker, because that s a key for the talks,” Suleymanov told reporters.

The United States is a co-chair of the so-called Minsk group on Nagorno-Karabakh alongside Russia and France.

Russia has been in the forefront of diplomacy between the two former Soviet republics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the death toll was nearing 5,000 in what has become the worst flare-up in Nagorno-Karabakh in more than two decades.

Small groups of rival protesters backing Armenia and Azerbaijan confronted one another with slogans and signs outside the State Department, with a Diplomatic Security officer in a mask standing between them.

The United States has a large and politically active Armenian diaspora but also strategic ties with Azerbaijan, a rare Muslim-majority nation to have strong relations with Israel.

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