ArmInfo. The U.S. is committed to Armenia-Azerbaijan peace negotiations, Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State, told briefing as he commented on a sharp statement Russian FM Sergey Lavrov made on January 26.
"First, the U.S. is committed to Armenia-Azerbaijan peace negotiations. We welcome efforts by partners, including the European Union, to build confidence in the region and to ensure an environment conducive to direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We continue to work closely with all our partners directly and with partners in the region as well when effective.
"Specifically, about Russia's role, the U.S. was not involved in the November 20 ceasefire brokered by Russia between Armenia and Azerbaijan that resulted in the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, so I just wouldn't have anything additional to offer on that. But of course.this is something that is deeply important to the Secretary [Antony Blinken], something he's paid close attention to and been deeply engaged on."
Russia denounced on Thursday the impending deployment of a new team of European Union monitors along Armenia's border with Azerbaijan, saying that it could only heighten tensions between the two South Caucasus nations.
EU foreign ministers approved the two-year monitoring mission on Monday in a move requested and welcomed by Armenia. The mission will "contribute to stability in the border areas of Armenia" and facilitate an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal.
The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that the mission could on the contrary "bring geopolitical confrontation to the region and exacerbate existing disagreements." It branded the EU as an "appendage of the U.S. and NATO."
"We do not see any 'added value' from the supervision of EU 'experts' over events in the Armenian- Azerbaijani border area," the ministry said in a statement. "If Brussels were sincerely interested in peace in the Transcaucasus, they would agree on the terms of their mission's work with Azerbaijan."
"Attempts by the European Union to gain a foothold in Armenia and push back Russia's mediation efforts at any cost can harm the fundamental interests of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in their aspirations to return to the peaceful development of the region," added the statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deplored the planned dispatch of more than 100 EU monitors even before its official announcement. Speaking at a January 18 news conference in Moscow, Lavrov also rebuked Armenia for refusing a similar mission offered by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in November.