United States Department of State spokesperson Ned Price spoke about Armenia and Azerbaijan during the July 26 State Department press briefing.
QUESTION: ….. I have seen your readout on the Secretary’s calls yesterday to President Aliyev and Pashinyan. There’s one line that I see that you’re – correct me if I’m wrong – three or four times since January. The Secretary reiterated his offer of assistance in helping and facilitating the process to both sides. Does that mean the previous offers have been turned down?
PRICE: No, it doesn’t mean that. It means that we’ve been able to achieve what we think is a degree of progress, and through continued engagements and diplomatic conversations with our Armenian, with our Azerbaijani partners in this case, we think we can continue that momentum. So the Secretary obviously has had a number of calls with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leadership, but there are a number of people, senior officials in this building who have engaged with their counterparts at all levels to continue this momentum and to continue to offer our assistance in the issues as we seek a long-term, comprehensive peace.
QUESTION: But there’s one caveat, though, which is the Minsk Group. Yesterday, President Aliyev’s office issued a statement. There was no reference to Minsk Group. If you’re an average Azerbaijani, you will see your president is lambasting Minsk Group every other day. And then you have the State Department readout referring to the very Minsk Group as a possible, let’s say, way to go. My question is: There’s clearly a mismatch here in terms of how you see and how the Azeri Government sees it.
PRICE: We’ve made clear in our statements, including, I believe, in the readouts yesterday, that the United States stands ready to assist these two countries and our likeminded partners in whichever way, whichever format is most effective. We have been a co-chair of the Minsk Group since 1994, but as we’ve demonstrated, we’re also willing to engage bilaterally with the countries to help Armenia and Azerbaijan find that long-term, comprehensive peace.