Saying Turkey is ‘Increasing Risk,’ Pompeo Hopes Armenia Can Defend Itself

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing on Oct. 14
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing on Oct. 14

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing on Oct. 14

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday acknowledged that Turkey is assisting Azerbaijan in its attacks on Artsakh, but offered little assurance that the United States would step up, as a co-chairing country of the OSCE Minks Group. Instead, he expressed hope that Armenians would be able to defend themselves against the ongoing attacks.

“We now have the Turks, who have stepped in and provided resources to Azerbaijan, increasing the risk, increasing the firepower that’s taking place in this historic fight over this place called Nagorno-Karabakh, a small territory with about 150,000 people,” said Pompeo during his daily briefing on Thursday when asked to comment about the ongoing military aggression against Artsakh, saying “It is dangerous.”

“We’re hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing,” said Pompeo. “…and that they will all, before that takes place, get the ceasefire right, and then sit down at the table and try and sort through this – that is – what is a truly historic and complicated problem set.”

“Yeah, it’s a longstanding conflict. The resolution of that conflict ought to be done through negotiation and peaceful discussions, not through armed conflict, and certainly not with third party countries coming in to lend their firepower to what is already a powder keg of a situation,” explained Pompeo.

“Secretary of State Pompeo – who is only now starting to acknowledge the obvious truths about the brutal, ongoing onslaught against Armenian civilians by Azerbaijan and its Turkish/ISIS allies – has yet to take a single concrete step to halt this killing,” said Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“Aside from passive remarks about how he’s ‘hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing,’ he has yet to publicly condemn Aliyev, cut off a single dollar of U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan, or sanction even one official in Ankara or Baku for war crimes,” added Hamparian.

During his Wednesday press briefing, Pompeo suggested that President Donald Trump was aware that Turkey was “reinforcing” Azerbaijan. Saying the State Department was following the developments in the region, he again did not offer any insight on the steps the U.S. would take to quell the fighting. He just simply called for the sides to adhere to the ceasefire agreement and negotiate a settlement.

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