(This story has been updated with Trump’s announcement of the ceasefire agreement on Twitter and US State Department’s release of a statement on the same deal)
U.S. President Donald Trump, during an election rally in New Hampshire on Sunday said he will solve the Nagorno – Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan easily, if he gets reelected.
During a speech, Trump said he will “straighten out” the ongoing fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region between Armenia and Azerbaijan, saying the conflict will be “easy” one.
Trump said that the Armenians “incredible people, they’re fighting like hell,” and claimed that he can solve everything between Armenia and Azerbaijan. “I call that an easy one” comparing the “peace in the Middle East” he’s already made.
Later in the day, Trump tweeted to announce the ceasefire agreement, congratulating both Armenian Prime Minister and Azeribaijan Presiden for agreeing to adhere to it.
Earlier in the day, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, during an interview with the Face the Nation, said that “Under the President’s direction, we have spent the entire weekend trying to broker peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia has accepted a ceasefire. Azerbaijan has not yet. We are pushing them [Azerbaijan] to do so.”
However, later in the day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted to announce that both Armenia and Azerbaijan have committed to implement and abide by the ceasefire at midnight. Foreign Ministers from both nations, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov have met with Pompeo on Friday.
Meanwhile, senior adviser to the OSCE Minsk Group, Trey Lyons, in another tweet announced that Minsk Group Co-Chairs to meet in Geneva on October 29 with Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers “to discuss, reach agreement on, & begin implementation” of steps necessary to achieve a peaceful settlement of Nagorno – Karabakh.
Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war over the breakaway region between 1988 and 1994 that killed some 30,000 people and displaced one million others. They declared a ceasefire in 1994, but have failed to agree to a peace treaty. Both sides have initiated clashes sporadically several times during the three decades of relative calm, and the current conflict is the largest and deadliest since the 1994 truce.
In a statement released by the U.S. government, it announced that the humanitarian ceasefire will take effect at 08:00 a.m. local time (12:00 a.m. EDT) on October 26, 2020, on Monday.
The statement, in full, follows:
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met with Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun on October 24, 2020 and reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to implement and abide by the humanitarian ceasefire agreed in Moscow on October 10, which were reaffirmed in the statement issued from Paris on October 17, in accordance with the October 1, 2020 joint statement of United States President Donald J. Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The humanitarian ceasefire will take effect at 08:00 a.m. local time (12:00 a.m. EDT) on October 26, 2020. The United States facilitated intensive negotiations among the Foreign Ministers and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to move Armenia and Azerbaijan closer to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
This is the first time Trump talked about the ongoing fights in South Caucasus which nearly erupted a month ago.
The Armenian American community, which is believed to be about 1.5 million, had called for the president and Congress to condemn Azerbaijan for an outbreak of fighting last month in the contested territory of Nagorno-Karabakh that they view as part of their historic homeland.
Last week, thousands of Armenian-Americans gathered outside the White House to protest the lack of action and urged Trump to speak up against Azeri and Turkish policies.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden issued a statement on Oct. 14, called on the Trump administration to stop coddling Ankara and tell Turkey, along with Iran, to stay out of Nagorno – Karabakh conflict.
“Turkey’s provision of arms to Azerbaijan and bellicose rhetoric encouraging a military solution are irresponsible,” Biden’s first statement on the conflict said.