The United States called on Azerbaijan to return its troops to their initial positions, after Azerbaijani forces last week launched a large-scale attack on Armenia’s sovereign territory.
“We call on Azerbaijan to return troops to their initial positions,” said the U.S. Embassy in Armenia after being asked to comment by Channel 1 news.
“We urge that the cessation of hostilities and disengagement of military forces be maintained, and work to resolve all outstanding issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan through peaceful negotiations continued. The United States is prepared to do whatever it can to support these efforts,” the embassy added.
“There can be no military solution to the conflict, and the use of force is not acceptable,” the embassy said, urging both sides to respect the ceasefire that started last week after the attacks.
The embassy also commented on Azerbaijan’s reported targeting of civilians as well as the abuse by Azerbaijani soldiers of Armenian prisoners of war.
“We have observed first-hand damage to civilian infrastructure inside Armenia and have seen reports of Armenian civilian casualties, both of which are deeply concerning and underscore the need to prevent further hostilities and the importance of diplomatic engagement,” the embassy said.
“We have seen reports of capture of Armenian servicemembers and reports of torture. The immediate, unconditional return of those captured in last week’s attacks, as well as the return of all other detainees, is an important step to achieving a lasting peace. The United States condemns torture wherever and whenever it occurs and strongly urges governments to abide by their international obligations and end impunity for these crimes,” the embassy added.
On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.
Blinken highlighted the need for a comprehensive and long-term settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a message also conveyed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who led a congressional delegation to Armenia last weekend.
Pashinyan reportedly thanked Blinken for the U.S.’s “clear positions and evaluations” of Azerbaijan’s attack on Armenia last week.
“Pashinyan also emphasized the importance of the international community’s condemnation of Azerbaijani actions, the withdrawal of Azerbaijani units from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, the return of Armenian prisoners of war who are still kept in Azerbaijan, and an adequate response to other humanitarian issues,” said a press statement from the prime minister’s office.
Blinken, who earlier this week hosted a meeting between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov in New York, voiced hope that such diplomatic dialogue will continue.
Blinken also emphasized the willingness of the United States “to continue its efforts aimed at the negotiation and peace process, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and long-term settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, including for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
President Joe Biden also touched on last week’s attack on Armenia, saying the recent hostilities “underscore the need to redouble our diplomacy.”
“We remain committed to working with you and other parties to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict, including for the people of Nagorno Karabakh,” Biden said in a message on Armenia’s Independence Day.
Foreign Minister Mirzoyan had the opportunity to discuss these issues with Biden on Wednesday during a reception the U.S. president hosted on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly.