Will Pompeo's talks with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia help the truce?

Head of State Department steps up efforts to end hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh

On Friday, clashes between the Azerbaijani army and Armenian military units took place in several regions of Nagorno-Karabakh. Fighting began hours before negotiations were to begin in Washington to end the most violent hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh since 1994..
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks Friday morning with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, followed by a separate meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. It remains unknown whether direct talks between the leaders of both warring states will take place today..

Mike Pompeo and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan

Pompeo’s meeting with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia is a renewed effort to end nearly a month of bloodshed that may have killed 5,000 people, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin..
Violation of two Russian-mediated ceasefire agreements dimmed hopes for a quick end to hostilities that erupted on September 27 over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway territory populated primarily by ethnic Armenians from Azerbaijan..
World powers want to prevent a wider war, which could involve Turkey, which expresses strong support for Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has concluded a defense pact with Armenia..
Shortly before the start of talks in Washington, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul that he hoped that Moscow and Ankara could work together to resolve the conflict..
Recalling once again the role of Turkey in mediating this conflict, which the United States, Russia and France have long been engaged in resolving, he said: “Turkey believes that it has the same right as Russia to participate in this process for the sake of establishing the world “.
Washington, Paris and Moscow ignored these calls, and disagreements over the conflict further exacerbated relations between Ankara and its NATO allies, with Pompeo blaming Turkey for fueling the conflict by arming the Azeri side. Ankara denies this accusation.
During the recent clashes, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan reported on hostilities in areas, including territories close to the contact line separating the sides..
The Armenian Defense Ministry also reported on fighting in several areas and stated that the city of Martuni in Nagorno-Karabakh was shelled last night. Azerbaijan denies this information.
Azerbaijan has expressed concern over the security of the close-to-combat pipelines that transport Azerbaijani oil and gas across the South Caucasus to world markets. To date, none of these pipelines have been damaged..
This week, Mike Pompeo said he hoped the Washington talks would find the “right way” to end the war, but Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at this stage “does not see a diplomatic solution” to the long-standing conflict.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev described the prospects for achieving a peaceful settlement as “very distant” and demanded that Yerevan promise that Baku will restore control over Nagorno-Karabakh.
About 30 thousand people died in the 1991-1994 war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenians consider this territory part of their historical homeland and accuse Azerbaijan of seizing land in the course of recent hostilities. At the same time, Nagorno-Karabakh is an internationally recognized territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan..
Azerbaijani forces claim that they have now seized part of the territories of the disputed region, having established, among other things, full control over the border with Iran, which Armenia denies. Nagorno-Karabakh claims its forces have repeatedly repelled attacks and kept the situation under control.

Expert comments

Mattew Bryza, an expert from the Atlantic Council, this is how he answered a question from the Russian service of the Voice of America about the negotiations taking place under the auspices of the United States:

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Will Pompeo's talks with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia help the truce?

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Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict: Pompeo to meet Armenia, Azerbaijan ministers | WION News | World News

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“It is really very important that the United States mediation has reached a high political level. This is a positive factor. I don’t know how effective the negotiations will be in terms of ending hostilities. I think that Azerbaijan’s successes on the battlefield since Sunday were impressive and unexpected even for Azerbaijan itself. I don’t think they expected to advance that fast and that far. And so I think that the Armenian side is now in a very weak position in the negotiations. But negotiations must take place. Every war ends in negotiation, right? After all, war is a continuation of politics in other ways. So I’m glad to see US involvement at this level. And I hope that this suggests that Secretary of State Pompeo will continue to be involved in the negotiations. Together with my French and Russian colleagues “.
Paul Stronski, A senior expert at the Carnegie Endowment drew attention to the following aspect of the negotiations:
“I believe one of the advantages that the United States and the Trump administration have is a good relationship with Turkey. Thus, maybe they can put a little pressure on the Turks, because the Turks have become one of the parties to the conflict. However, it is unclear whether this will work out, or whether the Trump administration will want it. So I’m glad the United States is involved, but I don’t have much hope. If we look at the situation as it develops on the ground, it is extremely volatile. And if you look at the statements that emanate from Baku, as well as from Prime Minister Pashinyan, it is clear that both sides see this war as a kind of existential battle, and do not seem to seek a diplomatic solution. Undoubtedly, the West, Russia and the United States, France can bring the parties to the negotiating table. But if they rule out a diplomatic solution at this stage, this cannot but raise serious concerns. “.
Angela Stent (Angela Stent), Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies, Georgetown University:
“I think the most the United States can do is try to convince both of these sides to agree to a ceasefire. But of course it happened in Moscow, a couple of weeks ago. They agreed on a ceasefire. Then it was broken. There is little the United States can do. Here they have limited leverage. But I am sure that Secretary of State Pompeo is trying to do this and persuade both sides to agree on a ceasefire, and then sit down and discuss how they can resolve the conflict. “.

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