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 Thursday, April 8 2021 10:11
Marianna Mkrtchyan

The State Department accused Russia of unwillingness to settle the  Karabakh conflict

The State Department accused Russia of unwillingness to settle the  Karabakh conflict

ArmInfo. The US State Department claims that Russia may be seeking to preserve the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, rather than resolve it. The corresponding  point of view was expressed on Wednesday by George Kent, Deputy  Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. He  spoke at an online seminar organized by the Washington-based  non-governmental organization Turkish Heritage.

"I expect the Azerbaijani authorities to be increasingly dissatisfied  with the fact that Russian peacekeepers appear to be staying in  Nagorno - Karabakh for the long term," Kent said, as quoted by TASS.   At the same time, describing the current situation in  Nagorno-Karabakh, he essentially accused Russia of wanting to prolong  the conflict, and also quoted an unnamed deputy head of the Georgian  Foreign Ministry. "One of the Deputy Foreign Ministers of Georgia  said in November: "This is the situation that we [Georgia] were in in  1998. Then Azerbaijan will find itself in the same situation that we  [Georgia] were in in 2008. And then he will find himself in the  situation in which we [Georgia] are now, " - said the employee of the  American Foreign Ministry. "This is a rather pessimistic, but perhaps  realistic assessment of how Russia is manipulating the conflict [in  Karabakh] for its own benefit and without actually seeking to resolve  the problem and allow the countries [Armenia and Azerbaijan] to move  forward," he said.

At the same time, Kent assured that the United States welcomes the  cessation of hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia over  Nagorno-Karabakh. "We all welcome the end of hostilities in November  last year, when [Russian President Vladimir Putin]] Putin has put  forward the terms [of the cease-fire], " he said.

From the point of view of the American diplomat, "a major security  challenge remains: how to approach the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh  in a way that allows the two countries to reach a final agreement on  the final status." "Azerbaijan can be perceived as the winner of the  war. However, this does not lead to a settlement of the crisis - just  as [it was when] Armenia may have won the first war a quarter of a  century ago," Kent said.

According to him, until now, the settlement was carried out within  the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group and "the co-chairing process,  which was jointly conducted by the United States, France and Russia."  "I believe that this mechanism faces some challenges. Is there a  genuine interest in us continuing?" - said the representative of the  State Department. In his opinion, the Minsk Group "will remain key to  the extent that the two countries themselves are ready to authorize  the mechanism to help reach an agreement." "Another open question is  Russia's intention," Kent believes. "It (Russia) decided not to seek  [agreement on] the terms of the ceasefire through the mechanism of  the Minsk Group co-chairs. It provided this directly in a trilateral  format, " the diplomat said.

He stressed that the United States remains ready to assist Azerbaijan  and Armenia in the settlement of the conflict, if Baku and Yerevan  are interested in it. "To the extent that Armenia and Azerbaijan are  committed to a peaceful settlement and to using the powers of the  Minsk Group Co - chairing process, the United States remains  committed to helping the two countries find a way forward," the  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State said.

In addition, he predicted that "this potentially opens up other  favorable opportunities," including a warming of relations between  Armenia and Turkey in the future. However, this "is not possible this  month or this year", but only in the long term, Kent admitted.


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