YEREVAN, DECEMBER 9, ARMENPRESS. During the US Congress Helsinki Committee’s hearings on the US priorities and activities in the OSCE Acting Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker has touched upon the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Voice of America reports.
Asked over the current situation around the Karabakh conflict, the US top diplomat has reaffirmed that Washington welcomes the stop of hostilities in the conflict zone and deeply regrets over human losses, including many civilian losses. “It’s impossible to return human lives”, he said.
“We continue to stress that this long-lasting conflict has no military solution. There is a body – the Minsk Group and the Co-Chairs, aimed at helping both sides, I mean Armenia and Azerbaijan, to find the settlement of the conflict. In the past 30 years there have been cases when we were close to the establishment of peace. I remember at the beginning of my career when we were in the leading position of the Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship and were holding active talks in 2000-2001 in Key West. We were really thinking that we were close to the settlement or were almost there. But it became an illusion”, Philip Reeker said.
He highlighted the role of the Minsk Group and the Co-Chairs in maintenance of fragile peace in the past three decades. According to him, thanks to this it was possible to avoid the violence which was demonstrated recently.
“We continue to believe that there is no long-term military solution here. Armenia’s victory in the battlefield decades ago didn’t put the conflict to end. We have tried to keep the sides away from violence through diplomacy. I doubt that the military solution can this time as well record another outcome”, Philip Reeker stated.
The US official said the settlement should be achieved around the negotiation table, adding that the Co-Chairs are the best mediators on this issue. “We are working with the remaining Co-Chair states – Russia and France”, he said. “We still have a lot of questions regarding the ceasefire achieved by Russia’s mediation, Turkey’s role here. We were very concerned and have expressed our concerns during the discussions over Turkey’s role here, the transfer of foreign militants there and weapons provided”.
He informed that US Co-Chair Andrew Schofer and the other Co-Chairs are planning to visit Yerevan and Baku at the end of the week to discuss the restoration of peace process and the return to the diplomatic platform. “We will closely follow this process and will continue raising these issues during the discussions with other countries”, Philip Reeker said.
He informed that the US is providing funds to help the population of Nagorno Karabakh.
Editing and Translating by Aneta Harutyunyan