Secretary of State Antony Blinken calls Nagorno-Karabakh attack ‘unacceptable’
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for “an immediate end to hostilities” by Azerbaijan against the ethnically Armenian province of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani operation was condemned by the EU, the United States and Russia.
“Azerbaijan’s unacceptable military actions risk worsening the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. » Blinken said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday. “We call for an immediate end to hostilities and direct dialogue.”
Earlier on Tuesday, an unnamed US official told Reuters that Blinken would hold talks with all sides in a bid to end the conflict. “odious” explosion of violence in the province.
Azerbaijan has launched what it calls “anti-terrorism measures” against the ethnically Armenian province of Nagorno-Karabakh earlier Tuesday. Baku claims to aim to strengthen the Armenian army in the province, while Yerevan denies having deployed units in Nagorno-Karabakh and accused Azerbaijan of trying to carry out the operation. “ethnic cleansing” of the Armenian enclave.
The Azerbaijani operation was condemned by the US, EU and Russia, among other powers. Russia brokered a ceasefire between Baku and Yerevan when the two sides fought over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, and maintains a contingent of peacekeepers in the province. Azerbaijan said it informed Russia before launching its military operation, but Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tuesday that the warning was just in time. “a few minutes before the start of the military action.”
The United States is not a formal ally of either Armenia or Azerbaijan, but has sold weapons to Baku since 2002, in exchange for access to the country as a launching pad for deploying troops to Afghanistan. These arms sales constitute a bone of contention for the large Armenian diaspora in the United States, which, according to authorities in Yerevan, numbers up to two million people.
Two of the United States’ main NATO allies – France and Germany – condemned Azerbaijan’s actions, with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna calling the operation “illegal, unjustifiable, [and] unacceptable.”
NATO member Turkey has come out in favor of Azerbaijan. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Azerbaijan “has been forced to take such measures as it deems necessary within its sovereign territory.”
European Parliament calls for sanctions against Azerbaijan
In the Armenian capital of Yerevan, protesters clashed with police in front of government buildings. Opposition politicians and activists accuse Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of abandoning Nagorno-Karabakh when he said he would recognize Azeri sovereignty over the province earlier this summer.
Azerbaijan has vowed to continue bombing Nagorno-Karabakh until Armenian-backed authorities surrender and dissolve their government.