YEREVAN (PanArmenian)—The outgoing US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern reiterated Friday that there is no military solution to the long-running Artsakh conflict.
Speaking at a farewell news conference in Yerevan he said he must repeat the statements by the OSCE Minsk Group that the Artsakh conflict has no military solution, and the only one way to settle it is through peace talks.
However, he stressed that the OSCE Minsk Group is acting as a peace broker and cannot impose a solution on the parties to the conflict.
“By and large, it all depends on the conflict parties themselves,” said the diplomat.
According to him, the US hopes that the strategic South Caucasus region will sooner or later become open, and that Washington, for its part, is ready to help resolve the conflict and open borders.
He said the U.S. wants to help Armenia to become a strategically important country with new possibilities and alternatives. According to him, the US and EU are willing to deepen cooperation with Armenia in any sphere where Armenia will demonstrate political will.
According to him, even though Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), it also effectively cooperates with NATO and is willing to continue cooperation with the West on mutually beneficial terms, which is natural, “because there are no winners and losers.”
He stressed that Washington will continue helping Armenia to build democracy and strengthen human rights, rule of law and free media.
The outgoing envoy also commented on the lack of progress in Armenia-Turkey reconciliation.
He said during his tenure in Armenia his biggest disappointment was about the Armenian-Turkish protocols.
The envoy said they expected that the protocols would be ratified resulting in the opening of the border and establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. But the lack of progress is disappointing, he said.
At the same time, the ambassador said, the US will continue supporting the Yerevan-Ankara reconciliation.
Azerbaijan is a very important partner for the US, Heffern said.
“We are working closely with Azerbaijan in a number of areas,” he said, brining Afghanistan as an example.
Heffern added that Azerbaijan is crucially important in terms of cooperation in the energy sector – the delivery of natural gas and oil to Southern Europe.
He further said Azerbaijan is also important in terms of building relations with Iran.