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 Thursday, April 11 2024 17:29
Marianna Mkrtchyan

It`s something else: US Ambassador on reasons for non-sanctioning  Azerbaijan 

It`s something else: US Ambassador on reasons for non-sanctioning  Azerbaijan 

ArmInfo. U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien twice avoided answering a direct question  about whether the US will impose sanctions or other international coercive measures against Azerbaijan due to belligerent rhetoric towards Armenia.

Thus, in an interview with the RFE/RL's Armenian Service, when asked  whether the United States would apply sanctions or other  international coercive measures against Azerbaijan due to belligerent  rhetoric towards Armenia,  Mrs.  Kvien, in particular, said:

"First of all, we have clearly stated that any disagreement between  Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot be resolved by military means, and, in  our opinion, whether it is ceasefire violations, very aggressive  rhetoric or disinformation that is put out into the information  sphere, all of those things are unhelpful to the peace process, Mrs  Kvien said.

"At the moment our task is to move this process forward. We have held  a number of meetings at the level of foreign ministers. The EU has  held several meetings between leaders and we felt that there has been  some progress in these meetings. Progress has slowed down recently  and we hope that it can get back on track and move forward more  dynamically. This could happen through US mediation. We would be very  happy to do that, but if both sides are comfortable working with  other mediators, we would also be happy to support that. We desire to  see progress on various details of the peace process, and we are  ready to support it in any way acceptable to both sides."

In response to the presenter's remark that she also asked about  sanctions, and to clarify why, in the case of Ukraine, the American  side introduced sanctions against Russia, and in the case of Artsakh  and Armenia, similar measures were not applied to Azerbaijan, the  Ambassador assured that  since September 2023 there has been some  restraint on the part of the United States in terms of interaction  with Azerbaijan.  "But just because relations are no longer the same  does not mean we stop communicating with this country.  We are trying  to act in a way that encourages and facilitates a return to the  negotiating table. A complete cessation of interaction will not move  us forward in this regard." We still need to talk to people, we still  need to try to encourage them, try to give them incentive. That's  what we're trying to do right now. We're also talking to regional  players, Turkiye and others, to try to bring them to common  denominator in terms of promoting progress in the peace process. It  won't be easy. James Baker once said, " You negotiate peace with your  opponents not with your friends, and that's never easy." But it is  the process that I think is incredibly important, incredibly  important, of course, for the stability of Armenia, but also for the  entire region.

When asked whether Aliyev agreed to continue work and negotiations  through US mediation, Mrs Kvien noted that she was not in Baku and  was not talking with President Aliyev. "But, in my understanding, he  also wants to sign a peace agreement, which he has stated publicly.  As I said, we are happy that this will happen in any format of  mediation that both sides can agree to. Therefore, we are not calling  on anyone "return to US mediation if they don't want to. But that  doesn't mean there isn't a need to move forward. We hope the parties  can find a path forward that is acceptable to both, and are happy to  support that in any way we can," she said, pointing out to the  efforts of the American mediator Louis Bono in this process.  Mrs  Kvien also recalled Secretary of State Blinken's phone call last week  with President Aliyev. "It was a very constructive telephone  conversation, they did not shy away from discussing any issues. Our  engagement continues and we hope to encourage and help advance the  peace process," the American Ambassador said.

When asked what concrete actions the United States could take to  protect Armenia if Russia takes tough steps, Mrs Kvien suggested not  discussing hypotheticals. At the same time, she offered to talk about  what the United States is doing now to help Armenia become stronger  and more independent.  "We do not advise Armenia to break off  relations with any country. Our point of view, my personal point of  view as a diplomat who served in the former Soviet Union, is that the  more friends, allies you have, the more trading partners you have,  the more export markets you have, the stronger you will be, because  no country can make you hostage to this relationship," the ambassador  said, adding that the US is trying to work with Armenia in those  areas that she herself has indicated to help it diversify the  contacts. In this regard, according to her, it is necessary not to  reduce this or that, but to diversify.  "We are doing several things  in this area. First, the USDA and US Agency for International  Development have been working to help Armenia increase its crop  yields so that it doesn't have to import as many staple foods.  Harvest storage is also helpful because you can buy food when it is  cheaper and store it until you need it, perhaps when it becomes more  expensive. This is the main thing that helps a country become more  independent in terms of food and other things.

We are also trying to help Armenia in terms of energy balance. For  example, Armenia is starting to do more in the field of renewable  energy, and we are trying to help along the way. We are also trying  to help Armenia think about what might happen after the closure of  the Metsamor nuclear power plant.  We are trying to find ways to make  Armenia stronger, more independent and have multiple sources and  trading partners that will allow Armenia to gain flexibility and  freedom, so as not to rely on one person and not be subject to  someone else's dictates," the Ambassador emphasized. 

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