WASHINGTON (RFE/RL)–The resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would reflect positively on the situation with human rights in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday.
Clinton made the remark at a meeting with international journalists and bloggers visiting the U.S. State Department. Responding to a question from an RFE/RL reporter, she dismissed claims that Washington is turning a blind eye to human rights violations in Azerbaijan because of its economic and geopolitical interests in the oil-rich country.
“We are aware of the issues both in Azerbaijan and Armenia,” she said, singling out the case of two Azerbaijani bloggers who were jailed “over views expressed.”
Clinton insisted that the U.S. administration is doing its best to broker a solution to the Karabakh conflict. “We think that if the conflict is resolved a lot of the human rights issues will be solved too,” she said.
In its annual report on human rights around the world released last Friday, the State Department criticized the governments of both South Caucasus states. It said in particular that the authorities in Yerevan have continued to stifle dissent, manipulate elections, tolerate police brutality and restrict judicial independence over the past year.