U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (AP photo)

US Warns Against ‘Use Of Force’ In Karabakh

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WASHINGTON (RFE/RL) — The United States on Sunday, September 10, warned the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict to refrain from military action amid rising tensions along the Karabakh “line of contact” and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. ”We note that humanitarian supplies are positioned near both the Lachin and Aghdam routes, and we repeat our call for the immediate and simultaneous opening of both corridors to allow passage of desperately needed humanitarian supplies to the men, women, and children in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

“We also urge leaders against taking any actions that raise tensions or distract from this goal. The use of force to resolve disputes is unacceptable,” added Blinken.

His statement followed Armenian claims that Azerbaijan is planning another military offensive in the conflict zone. The Armenian government reported an Azerbaijani military buildup there earlier this week. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan urged the international community to take “very serious measures” to thwart Baku’s alleged plans.

Pashinyan on Saturday offered to hold “urgent” talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during phone calls with Blinken and the leaders of France, Germany and Iran.

Yuri Kim, the acting US assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, spoke with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov by phone on September 9 for the second time in two days. Bayramov was reported to repeat Azerbaijani allegations about Armenian “provocations” against his country’s territorial integrity.

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A senior US State Department official called on Friday for the simultaneous opening of the Lachin corridor and “other routes” for humanitarian supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh in phone calls with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers.

Kim reiterated Washington’s “serious concerns over the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh” when she spoke to Armenia’s Ararat Mirzoyan early in the morning.

“We urge all sides to work together now to immediately and simultaneously open Lachin and other routes to get desperately needed humanitarian supplies into Nagorno-Karabakh,” she wrote in a post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Yuri Kim

Kim made the same point during her separate phone call with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov. She described their conversation as “constructive.”

Blinken and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev again discussed the situation in Karabakh in a September 1 call revealed by the US State Department five days later. The department said Blinken insisted on the need for renewed traffic through the Lachin corridor “while recognizing the importance of additional routes from Azerbaijan.”

Despite struggling with severe shortages of food, medicine and other basic necessities, most residents of Karabakh remain strongly opposed to the alternative supply line sought by Baku. They believe that it is aimed at legitimizing the blockade and helping Azerbaijan regain full control over Karabakh.

Armenia’s position on the compromise solution favored by the United States as well as the European Union is not clear.

 

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