Pompeo Meets Armenian, Azerbaijani FMs as Fighting Rages

On Friday, October 23, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Jeyhun Bayramov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.

"Pompeo shook hands and exchanged pleasantries as he opened a meeting at the State Department with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.

"He was due to meet afterward with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. The foreign ministries in both Yerevan and Baku have ruled out a three-way meeting in Washington.

'Ahead of the talks, Pompeo kept expectations in check, noting that previous ceasefire bids have not held," AFP reports

The diplomats did not make any statements to the media after the meetings.

"It's a complicated diplomatic situation," Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday.

"Our view remains, as does the view of nearly every European country, that the right path forward is to cease the conflict, tell them to de-escalate, that every country should stay out, provide no fuel for this conflict, no weapons systems, no support," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the death toll was nearing 5,000 in the worst flare-up in the conflict between the former Soviet republics in more than two decades.

The United States has officially voiced neutrality and is a co-chair of the so-called Minsk group with Russia and France on Nagorno-Karabakh.

The military confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan started on September 27 over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. There are large numbers of casualties on both sides.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988. Azerbaijan believes that Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding areas - 20% of Azerbaijan - are occupied by the Armenian Armed Forces, which is categorically denied by Armenia.

By Ana Dumbadze 

Source: AFP

23 October 2020 19:36