USA wades in cautiously to Armenia-Azerbaijan peace effort

Cheryl Sanders
October 23, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow believed that almost 5,000 people had been killed in fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Armenia's defence ministry also reported fighting in several areas and said the town of Martuni in Nagorno-Karabakh was shelled again during the night.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met separately on Friday in Washington with the foreign ministers of both countries in a bid to promote a cease-fire in hostilities over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Pompeo shook hands and exchanged pleasantries as he opened a meeting at the State Department with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.

But those hopes have been dented by the continued heavy fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway territory that is inside Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians, and by angry rhetoric from both sides.

"I very much hope that our American partners will act in unison with us and will help the settlement", Putin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.

Russian Federation has been in the forefront of diplomacy between the two former Soviet republics.

While Azerbaijan announced the killing of 61 of its citizens, without disclosing the number of its military deaths.

The Trump administration waded cautiously into global efforts to halt fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are engaged in their worst conflict in more than 25 years.

Putin said Moscow believed more than 2,000 people had been killed on each side during the recent flare-up.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is populated by Armenians and sought after by the Armenian secessionists.

Pompeo said this week he hoped a diplomatic solution and the "right path forward" could be found as the United States, France and Russian Federation press on with mediation efforts they have led for decades.

"It is at that point that a diplomatic solution that would be acceptable to all can potentially be achieved".

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he hopes the USA can help Moscow broker a solution to the conflict.

The US, Russia and France, who have long led mediation efforts, have so far ignored demands for a Turkish role.

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of launching fresh attacks on Thursday.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said the prospects of reaching a peace settlement are "very remote", and demanded promises that Azerbaijan will be handed back control of Nagorno-Karabakh, recognised by the United Nations as Azeri territory.

Hikmet Hajiyev's comments come in the wake of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan saying that he saw no possibility of a diplomatic solution at this stage in the conflict with Azerbaijan.

Other reports by iNewsToday