US warns Azerbaijan to end military operation

Lazy eyes listen


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on Azerbaijan to “immediately cease hostilities” against the ethnic-Armenian province of Nagorno-Karabakh. The EU, US, and Russia have all denounced the Azeri operation.

“Azerbaijan’s unacceptable military actions risk worsening the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Blinken warned on Tuesday in a statement on X (previously Twitter). “We demand an immediate cessation of hostilities and open dialogue.”

Earlier on Tuesday, an anonymous US source told Reuters that Blinken will hold talks with all parties in an effort to resolve the province’s “egregious” outbreak of violence.

Azerbaijan started “counter-terrorism measures” against Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian territory, earlier on Tuesday. Baku claims to be aiming for a military buildup in the region, while Yerevan denies sending troops to Nagorno-Karabakh and accuses Azerbaijan of pursuing “ethnic cleansing” of the Armenian enclave.

The US, EU, and Russia, among other countries, have all denounced the Azeri operation. When Baku and Yerevan fought over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, Russia negotiated a ceasefire and now maintains a contingent of peacekeepers in the province. Azerbaijan stated it notified Russia before beginning its military operation, but Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday that the warning came “minutes before military action began.”

Although the United States is not a formal ally of either Armenia or Azerbaijan, it has provided weaponry to Baku in exchange for access to the country as a staging area for troops going to Afghanistan since 2002. These armament sales are a source of dispute for the country’s sizeable Armenian community.

France and Germany, two of the United States’ main NATO partners, have condemned Azerbaijan’s conduct, with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna calling the operation “illegal, unjustifiable, [and] unacceptable.”

Turkey, a NATO member, has come out in favour of Azerbaijan. According to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, Azerbaijan “was forced to take measures it deems necessary on its sovereign territory.”

Protesters battled with police outside government buildings in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital. Opposition politicians and activists accuse Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of abandoning Nagorno-Karabakh when he announced earlier this summer that he would recognise Azeri sovereignty over the territory.