Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan held a telephone conversation with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried, with whom he reportedly discussed the need for the speedy release of Armenian prisoners of war being held captive by Azerbaijan, the foreign ministry reported.
The “security environment” of the region, as well as issues related to efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were discussed, per the foreign ministry readout.
This was the second telephone conversations between Mirzoyan and Donfried in the past two weeks. The latter phoned Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov after the two met in Tbilisi on July 16.
The United States has taken a keen interest of late in Armenia. Last month CIA Director William Burns visited Yerevan and held talks with Armenia’s leadership about the normalization processes between Yerevan and Baku and Yerevan and Ankara.
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Lynne Tracy reiterated an earlier sentiment expressed by Donfried that the United States was ready to work with Russia on a Karabakh settlement. Also, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also phoned Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan last week to voice American support for the ongoing peace negotiations between Yerevan and Baku.
All of this is being viewed by Russia as an effort by the West to impede on its zone of influence. For months, Russia has blamed the European Union and U.S. on the evident collapse of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs process to mediate a settlement to the Karabakh conflict.
Last week the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Ivan Nachaev warned that Russia will not stand for “secret games” in the South Caucasus, emphasizing that any resolution of regional issues must be based on agreements headed and brokered by Moscow—referring mainly to the November 9, 2020 agreement brought forth by President Vladimir Putin of Russia and agreed to by Pashinyan and Aliyev, as well as subsequent agreements on the processes of opening the transit routes and the delimitation and demarcation of borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan.