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.