YEREVAN, WASHINGTON—The United States Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern on Monday said there can be no attacks against civilian planes, the threat constantly voiced by Azerbaijan in regard to Karabakh’s plans to open a civilian airport near Stepanakert.
“As a representative of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair [nation], I have to stay behind the statements of the co-chairs on all aspects of the airport issue. In any case no matter what happens there cannot be attacks against civilian aircrafts,” said Heffern.
The U.S. diplomat also urged the sides to refrain from “provocation” actions.
During a press briefing Friday, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland fielded a question regarding Baku’s continued threats to down civilian aircraft, most recently reiterated by Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister last week.
“The United States urges the parties to find a diplomatic solution to issues relating to the operation of the airport, in keeping with the relevant international agreements, customary international law, and the current practice between Armenia and Azerbaijan with respect to civilian air travel,” said Nuland.
“The OSCE Minsk Group issued a statement on this. There was one on April 14th, 2011. There was another one just this past July 2012, which represented the views of the United States, France and Russia in calling for a diplomatic solution. So I would urge you to take a look at that,” added Nuland.
“We also in those statements reiterated that the operation of this airport should not be used to support any claim of change in the status of Nagorno-Karabakh,” concluded Nuland.