Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the escalating military activity on the line of contact in Artsakh with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday, as calls for the de-escalation of the situation poured in from the European Union, the United States, NATO, the United Nations and Russia.
The Kremlin signaled that President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who is scheduled to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, might have a similar conversation, media reports indicated.
During his conversation with Cavusoglu about the Ukraine crises, Blinken also raised the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the State Department reported.
Blinken told Cavusoglu “that the United States is ready to engage bilaterally, with likeminded partners, and through our role as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair to facilitate dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia and help achieve a long-term political settlement to the conflict.”
On Thursday, the U.S. voiced its “deep” concern regarding the escalation of military activity in Karabakh, with State Department spokesperson Ned Prince saying that the U.S. is “closely following reports of intensive fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh, including casualties and the loss of life.”
“We urge immediate steps to reduce tensions and avoid further escalation,” Price said. “The recent increase in tensions underscores the need for a negotiated, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement of all remaining issues related to or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
Putin and Erdogan are scheduled to meet in Sochi and the Kremlin did not rule out a discussion between the leaders about the recent developments in Karabakh.
Erdogan, last month, said that Ankara coordinates all regional developments with Baku, and in discussing the Turkey-Armenia normalization process reiterated what has become a precondition, the Turkish leader said that Armenia must sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan and open the so-called “Zangezur Corridor.”
The leaders of EU, the UN and NATO all called on both sides—Armenia and Azerbaijan—to negotiate an immediate de-escalation of tensions.