WASHINGTON (state.gov) — US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price on September 14 responded to questions from the press, including several concerning Armenia and Azerbaijan, as follows.
QUESTION: Thank you. My question is about the situation in the Caucasus. And I know that Secretary [Anthony] Blinken have [sic] been involved already in talks with Armenian and Azerbaijani officials. But the situation remains very intense, and the report suggests that the forces of Azerbaijan advanced and captured sovereign territories of the Republic of Armenia, and the humanitarian situation is very desperate. Do you have any updates on that?
MR PRICE: Yes, you are correct that the situation continues to be very concerning. We are deeply concerned about continued attacks along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. We’ve seen continued attacks now for a second straight day. We are particularly disturbed by continued reports of civilians being harmed inside Armenia. As you know, Secretary Blinken, shortly after hostilities broke out earlier this week, had an opportunity overnight to speak to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. He conveyed our deep concern over military actions along their shared border, including reports of shelling inside Armenia. He urged President [Ilham] Aliyev to cease hostilities immediately, to disengage military forces, to pull forces back from the border, and to cease hostilities that could endanger civilians, and to work to resolve all outstanding issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan through peaceful negotiations.
We’ve made clear, in this context and before, to both leaders and at all levels that there can be no military solution to this dispute. And we’ve urged both sides to refrain from further military hostilities and to engage in dialogue and diplomacy. For our part, we do remain deeply engaged. Ambassador [Philip T.] Reeker, who is our senior advisor for Caucasus negotiations, he is still in Baku. He met yesterday, on September 13th and Wednesday, today, with senior Azerbaijani leaders. Ambassador Reeker met with President Aliyev yesterday in Baku. Assistant Secretary [Karen] Donfried of our Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs spoke earlier this afternoon with Foreign Minister [Ceyhun] Bayramov of Azerbaijan. And we remain committed to doing all we can to promote a peaceful and prosperous future for the South Caucasus.
QUESTION: Very briefly on Turkey’s role. [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan said they support Azerbaijan and there might be consequences, as he said, for Armenia, kind of blaming the victim. And Putin, president of Russia, and Erdoğan might discuss the situation in Armenia later this week. Have you had any talks with your Turkish counterparts considering Turkey’s growing role and kind of support to Azerbaijan, to one side of the conflict?
MR PRICE: Secretary Blinken, Ambassador Reeker, Assistant Secretary Donfried, others in her bureau have had a number of conversations, including with Armenia and Azerbaijan, but with other concerned stakeholders and partners. Not in a position to detail all of those engagements, but as I said yesterday, we are going to remain deeply engaged in the diplomacy. We are prepared to do all we can on a bilateral basis, on a multilateral basis, to see to it that these hostilities come to an end and that tensions are de-escalated.