Armenia’s government on Friday reaffirmed its support for the OSCE Minsk Group to mediate a settlement to the Karabakh conflict, while the United States resounded to Baku’s criticism of the appointment of a new U.S. Co-Chair of the Minsk Group.
“The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship has an international mandate to provide support for the lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict,” Armenia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Vahan Hunanyan told Armenian news outlets on Friday, adding that “No one has invalidated this mandate.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the appointment of top diplomat Ambassador Philip T. Reeker as Senior Advisor for Caucasus Negotiations, who will also serve as U.S. OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair.
Upon this announcement, official Baku fired a warning to Washington saying that with “reanimating” the Minsk Group process the U.S. risked being left of the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process. Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said that after the 44-day war, the Karabakh conflict had been resolved.
“As a country, we are committed to facilitating direct dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia bilaterally, multilaterally, and in cooperation with likeminded partners to achieve a comprehensive peace settlement between the two countries,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters, adding that Reeker’s appointment “underscored the U.S.’s commitment to facilitating peace in the South Caucasus.”
While Armenia, the U.S. and the European Union have all advocated for a lasting settlement to the Karabakh conflict through the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Russia—the third co-charing country—has all but called the process dead.
High level U.S. officials said that Washington was willing to work with Moscow to settle the Karabakh conflict, but Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed the U.S. and France, saying that they stopped the Minsk Group process.