Senior U.S. Diplomat Says Arms Sales to Azerbaijan Not for Use against Armenia

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Eric Rubin


WASHINGTON—Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Eric Rubin, explained on Thursday that U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan is not for use against Armenia. Speaking before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), Rubin explained that arms sales to Baku are only for counterterrorism purposes and that the U.S. is seeking a resolution to the Artsakh conflict.

“Where we do provide security assistance to Azerbaijan, we are careful to ensure it is used in full compliance with the law to counter terrorism, support the operational readiness of U.S. Armed Forces or coalition partners to counter terrorism, ensure Azerbaijan’s border security as long as it is determined that such assistance will not undermine or hamper ongoing efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan or be used for offensive purposes against Armenia,” Eric Rubin told the Helsinki Commission.

“The United States is working diligently to facilitate a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group, along with France and Russia, the United States has worked in recent months to articulate the substantial benefits that peace would bring to people across the region. In doing so, we are focusing on pragmatic steps to bring the sides into negotiations on a peace agreement based on the core principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act,” he said.

“We hope the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will agree to meet in the near future to continue the constructive dialogue begun at their summit last November. It also is important that both governments support Track II efforts to build people to people contacts between Azerbaijanis and Armenians. These kinds of confidence building measures can help to prepare citizens of both countries for peace,” Eric Rubin stated.

He added that the US is troubled by the recent arrest of well-known journalist Rauf Mirkadirov, the subsequent investigation of Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunusov, their poor treatment by the authorities, and confiscation of their passports.

“All three have been strong proponents of the Track II process and the Azerbaijani government’s actions will have a chilling effect on any contact between Azerbaijanis and Armenians,” he said, adding that “Helping both sides resolve this conflict is a key element of our relationships with both Azerbaijan and Armenia, and we fully support the Minsk Group co-chairs in their efforts to facilitate a more constructive phase of negotiations.”

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19 Comments

  1. Alexander said:

    Are US military hardware and weapons being used by ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq now? You betcha!!

    • Hratch said:

      The USA is not arming this group, they are helping FSA. Even there they are limiting their support in fears that weapons might fall into the hands of the extremists. If only from the start FSA was supported all this blood shed and destruction could have been prevented. You can thank Russia and China for that.

  2. sam said:

    i;m sure they will not use against the armenians probably will shoot at them selves or maybe at the turks

  3. Vahe said:

    The US does not need to give weapons to Azerbaijan. Israel and our “friend” Russia supply Azeris with plenty of weapons.

  4. GB said:

    Mr. Rubin
    Politically Azeri Sultan calling Artsakhi Armenians as “terrorist occupiers”.
    I wonder if all these high tech arm supply by US and Russia to Azerbaijan will be used against Artsakhi “counter attack”.

  5. Hagopian hagopian said:

    Just like the sale of American cluster bombs sold to Israel and turkey were not intended to be used against civilians in Lebanon and the Kurds in turkey. Your track record distorts any credibility you might have.

  6. Sokimag said:

    While I don’t like any country arming our enemy, I put less blame on USA for selling arms to Azerbaijan than Russia. Russia is much more guilty.

    Here’s why:

    1) Russia is our ally. More is expected from an ally like Russia than USA. While we do not have a bad relation with USA, USA is not a close ally to Armenia like Russia is.

    2) Russia has sold much more arms to Azerbaijan. It isn’t even comparable. USA has sold very little amount of arms to Azerbaijan in comparison of Russia selling arms to Azerbaijan.

    3) USA has at least a justification for it’s arm sell to Azerbaijan and it is not intended to be used against Armenia. Russia has not given such guaranty to Armenia.

    • Hratch said:

      We’re conditioned to criticize the US at every opportunity. Just look at all the negative comments. Yet, when it comes to stories on Russian weapon sales to Azerbaijan, very few people have anything to say. The Russophile attitude is well entrenched in our people. It is as if the Russians can do no wrong to the Armenians. As it goes, the devil does not overtly tell you that he is the devil when he is trying to befriend you. He usually approaches with conniving and friendly overtones, now does that sound like someone we know?

      • ara said:

        if it wasn’t for Russia, Armenia would be dismantled into piaces by azeri and turkish military, think about it, besides Russia sells azerbejan weapons, at the same time Russia gives Armenia weapons for free. think about it

  7. Mike Mirakian said:

    Make sure you send those weapons with “Armenian resistant bullets”
    What will the US do if those weapons ARE used against Armenians — tell BOTH sides not to use them?

  8. James said:

    What non-sense. Of course US arms will be used by Azerbaijan against Armenia. The weapons being for “counterterrorism” and realpolitik speak to pressure Armenia. This is irresponsible behavior.

  9. Artin Djerdjerian said:

    B.S. May be for use Against RUSSIA ???Come on Mr.USA……

  10. GeorgeMardig said:

    ….U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan is not for use against Armenia….. NO, IT IS TO USE AGAINST TURKEY

  11. Hannibal said:

    Dont play with fire !Azeris are going to use the wepon to attack our country. we will not accept any s c preparation to kontakt with our enemies.we will show our enemies how we crush dem.

  12. Armenian Christian said:

    This is b.s. there will be one mmore fight at least…all we wil have is ourselves..as always the Russian s wi come in ince we are already winning to make sure we dont take baku…once again like in 94. All we have is ourselves our cunning and our will to fight for a future Armenian minus the oligarchical system…there will be a giant war and then a revolution in Armenia…. I will be there…will you??

  13. Ron said:

    It has become critically important for Armenia to find ways to stop Azerbaijan’s oil and natural gas transits, which fund the Azeri army. Every dollar that Azerbaijan receives from these sales should be viewed as a strategic national security threat for Armenia. These pipelines pass through Javaghk, and it should not be too difficult to figure out a way to take the pipelines out, and make it clear that as long as Armenia’s and Artsakh’s security is threatened, and as long as Armenian soldiers die at the contact line, Azerbaijan should not be allowed to profit from these sales. The best form of defense is offense. It is time to wake up before it is too late.

  14. arziv said:

    Of course Mr Rubinstein, the arms sales are for the Azeries to catch sparrows and hunt wild boars. Mr Rubinsetein shoud go and sell his lies to a gullible and naive audience.

  15. Serj Bulanikian said:

    I would call Mr.Rubin’s statement “HOG WASH”.Azeris do not need American arms to fight terrorists as Rubin claims. They have enough russian armements.

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