The United States said that Nagorno-Karabakh should be included in an eventual “peace treaty” between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“To have a sustainable, lasting and balanced peace agreement, it must include Nagorno-Karabakh, and we are committed to bringing it to end. We recognize its importance,” Louis Bono, the U.S. OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, who is visiting Yerevan told Azatutyun.am on Tuesday when asked whether Karabakh should be part of the peace process.
“First of all, Nagorno Karabakh will be part of the peace process. I think both sides accepted that,” he added.
“Our role in this process is not to serve as a mediator. We are not here to impose language, conditions on any of the parties. What we are trying to do is to facilitate a peace. What I mean by that is that we want the parties to develop the language, the conditions, to accept them together. They need to work this out amongst themselves,” said Bono, when asked whether the U.S. will work with Baku to advance talks with Artsakh.
“President Aliyev said in Munich that he will appoint someone who will cooperate with the representatives of Karabakh. I think it already happened last week. And during the conversation with me, he mentioned that he is ready to continue those discussions. So we are optimistic that we can work with the parties in that direction. But it won’t be easy. It will require a lot of hard work and commitment from all sides,” Bono added.
The envoy for the South Caucasus also ruled out U.S. sanctions on Baku over the blockade of the Artsakh, telling Azatutyun.am that “this is not a time for sanctions.”
“I am here to work with both parties to lead them towards peace. Sanctions would be counterproductive. It’s not even under consideration at this point,” Bono added.
The State Department said last week that Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted on the restoration of “free and open commercial and private transit through the Lachin corridor” when he hosted talks between Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s leaders in Munich on February 18. Yet Baku has dismissed Blinken, as well as similar calls from the EU and Russia.
“We will continue to press this matter,” Bono told Azatutyun.am.
Bono also met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who told the visiting diplomat that on the one hand Azerbaijan is making announcements regarding dialogue with Karabakh representatives, while on the other hand it is engaging in terrorist acts, referring to Sunday’s Azerbaijani ambush of an Artsakh police vehicle that killed three officers.on and other Armenian officials.
During the discussion, the two have discussed the humanitarian crisis stemming from the now almost three-month blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan.
Pashinyan has also underscored to the U.S. diplomat Baku’s failure to comply with a decision of the International Court of Justice, which last month ruled that Azerbaijan must take steps to ensure “unimpeded movement” on the Lachin Corridor.