Official Yerevan on Friday countered the United States’s response to a large-scale attack launched by Azerbaijan against the Sotk village in the Gegharkunik Province on Thursday.
The State Department spokesperson Vedan Patel on Thursday characterized Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attack on Armenia as “an exchange of fire,” saying “this kind of violence” undermined the perceived progress made by Armenia and Azerbaijan when their foreign ministers met in Washington last week.
“First of all, it was not an exchange of fire but another unprovoked attack by the Azerbaijan’s army, which is well known for its ISIS-like warfare conduct,” Edmon Marukyan Armenia’s Ambassador at-Large fired back on Friday in a post on Twitter, adding that the “Armenian army took necessary steps to defend our sovereign territory.”
“Our demand is that Azerbaijan must withdraw its occupational forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia and return to the internationally recognized borders, i.e. the administrative borders that existed between both countries at the time of independence from the USSR. Third, in 2022, in Prague and Sochi, Azerbaijan committed that it will refrain from the use of force or threat of use of force,” Marukyan tweeted.
In his remarks, Patel also called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to reach an agreement at the upcoming talks in Brussels, where Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan are scheduled to meet on Sunday.
Patel also said that Armenia and Azerbaijan should “distance their forces along the border, as discussed by Secretary Blinken during their participation of these negotiations that we hosted here in Washington, D.C., at the beginning of May.”
The State Department spokesperson continued to insist that the talks in Washington last week were “important, positive steps in which we felt the two countries had the opportunity to engage on some important issues, see the other side’s point of view.”
“And we believe that there continues to be a durable path forward. We believe that there is a peaceful solution to this. It’s why we, from the Secretary on down, have continued to be so deeply engaged on this,” Patel added.
“We believe that those talks were fruitful and laid the groundwork for a continuation of these talks beginning in Brussels, and we’ll let that process play out,” Patel said.