Melkoumian Meets With US Envoy to Misnk Group

WASHINGTON (AFP)–A senior US diplomat met here this week with the foreign minister of Nagorno-Karabakh to discuss efforts to end the Karabakh conflict–the State Department said Friday.

However–deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said Wednesday’s meeting between the US envoy for the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute–Rudy Perina–and "foreign minister," Naira Meloumian–did not mark a change in Washington’s policy toward the enclave–which it regards as part of Azerbaijan.

"The United States does not recognize the so-called government or republic of Nagorno-Karabakh," Reeker told reporters. "The United States supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and recognizes that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan and we believe that a political resolution to the conflict there must be achieved," he said.

Perina and Meloumian–whom Reeker described as a "representative" of Nagorno-Karabakh–"discussed the peace process," he said.

"We have been meeting periodically and we’ve discussed it with representatives of local Nagorno-Karabakh authorities as part of the Minsk Group’s efforts to promote a peaceful resolution to the dispute over the region," Reeker said.

The United States–along with France and Russia–is a co-chair of the Minsk Group–a 13-nation organization within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Portugal–which currently holds the rotating OSCE presidency–is to host a meeting of the Minsk Group later this month.

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