Pompeo insists on ‘de-escalation’ of military activities.
Ahead of a scheduled meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Moscow for separate meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lavrov met separately with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on Wednesday and Azerbaijan’s top diplomat Jeyhun Bayramov on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported, adding that President Vladimir Putin of Russia recently had telephone conversations with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
During the talks with Lavrov the officials discussed urgent issues pertaining to the ceasefire agreements, as well as the need to create the necessary conditions for a comprehensive settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
Meanwhile in Washington, Pompeo said on Wednesday that he will reiterate U.S. calls for a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone when he separately meets with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Washington on Friday.
“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 weapon systems, no support,” Pompeo told reporters.
“And it is at that point that a diplomatic solution that would be acceptable to all can potentially be achieved,” he said. “That’s what I will talk to them about on Friday. And I’m anxious to hear from them what they are seeing on the ground and how we might get closer to what it is that we think is not only in the U.S. best interests but in each of their countries’ interests as well.”
Pompeo would not say whether he will attempt to broker another ceasefire agreement during his talks on Friday, adding that such agreements brokered by Russia and France earlier this month did not stop the hostilities in and around Karabakh.
It also remained unclear whether Mnatsakanyan and Bayramov could also meet with each other or hold a trilateral meeting with Pompeo in Washington.
Armenia’s foreign ministry released details of Mnatsakanyan’s meeting with Lavrov, saying that Mnatsakanyan told Lavrov that the ceasefire agreements “reached are still on the paper due to Azerbaijan’s treacherous behavior and steps aimed at destabilizing the situation.”
Mnatsakanyan thanked Russia for its efforts to end the hostilities, and emphasized the need to establish mechanisms to verify the ceasefire agreement.
Separately, Pashinyan said he was certain that Russia will continue doing its best to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict both as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair and as Armenia’s strategic ally.
“Today, and during this entire period of time I highly appreciate the cooperation and partnership of Armenia and the Russian Federation. We feel Russia’s support, as a strategic ally of Armenia and the Armenian people. Constant communication exists between our countries, and we are cooperating in the maximal highest and effective way to find a solution from this situation. Also by taking into account that Russia is also a co-chair of the OSCE and Armenia’s strategic partner,” Pashinyan said.