ArmInfo. The statement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is evidence of the combined efforts of the United States and European Union to force Russia out of Artsakh first and later of the entire South Caucasus, David Stepanyan, associate member, Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs (AIISA), said in an interview with ArmInfo.
"This statement by Mr Blinken, as well as his telephone talks with Armenia's Premier Nikol Pashinyan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev before the Brussels meeting, are evidence of not only indirect - through the EU - but also direct involvement of the United States in, let us say, the post-Minsk process of settlement of the Artsakh problem. And we can be sure of the USA's presence, albeit invisible, at the Michel-Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting in Brussels on April 6, 2022," he said.
In his remarks at the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee session, Secretary Blinken said the United States supports a long-term political settlement with regard to Nagorno Karabakh.
"I have been very actively in directly engaged with leadership in both Armenia and Azerbaijan including just as recently as a week ago phone calls with Prime Minister Pashinyan and with President Aliyev, as well as their foreign ministers, trying to help advance prospects for a long-term political settlement with regard to Nagorno Karabakh", Blinken said. "We have been developing and promoting various confidence- building measures. We have been trying to push back on any unilateral actions particularly by Azerbaijan that would only inflame the situation and we have a number of programs in place that are part of the budget to try to help advance more peaceful prospects".
After the geopolitical confrontation over Ukraine entered an active phase, the trilateral OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship has transformed into two separate, even rivaling, processes. And intense rivalry of the United States and France with Russia is an accomplished fact. However, neither the USA nor France or Russia is not going to officially dissolve the OSCE Minsk Group in the foreseeable future, primarily due to the fact that it is as OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs that they are internationally mandated to mediate between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"I would like to emphasize the part of Mr Blinken's statement saying that the USA has 'been trying to push back on any unilateral actions particularly by Azerbaijan.' I think that part of the statement is addressed to Moscow rather than to Baku. And it is not without reasons that the United States believes that Russia, along with Turkey, is actually provoking Azerbaijan's excessive bellicosity as a means of keeping a tight rein on Armenia and preventing it from making any steps toward the West," Mr Stepanyan said.
In other words, the USA's statements are a means of curbing the present and preventing further militant tendencies by President Ilham Aliyev thereby stripping its principal rival, Russia, of one of the means of influencing Armenia and, therefore, the settlement process.
"Of course, it is being done primarily in the national interests of the United States, which is seeking to project the current situation in Ukraine to the South Caucasus and force Russia to leave the other side of the Caucasian Range," Mr Stepanyan said.