US threatens Nagorno-Karabakh delegates, forces meeting with Baku
Russia expresses concerns over US attempts to impose mediation in the dialogue between Stepanakert and Baku, including through threats of the use of force.
US officials are pressuring delegates from the Nagorno-Karabakh region to hold a meeting with Azerbaijani representatives in a neutral location. They have given them an ultimatum, stating that failure to comply will result in Azerbaijani forces carrying out a "counterterrorism operation" against them, a source in Washington told Sputnik.
"Washington is forcing the representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh in an ultimatum-like way to agree in the near future to a meeting with the Azerbaijani side in a third country with the participation of an American curator. The goal is to introduce the United States into the region," the source revealed.
On its part, Russia expressed concerns about US attempts to impose mediation in the dialogue between Stepanakert and Baku, including through threats of the use of force, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik on Thursday.
"We are concerned about the information that has appeared in the media that the US is trying to impose its mediation services now also in the dialogue between Baku and Stepanakert, including through threats to use force," the ministry said.
This information comes after Azerbaijan and Armenia both expressed their willingness to recognize others’ territorial integrity and made progress to normalize relations through Russian-hosted talks in late May.
At a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Permanent Council, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said Baku and Yerevan are "on the threshold of peace."
"The two countries [Azerbaijan and Armenia] for the first time after the restoration of their independence are on the threshold of peace, pledging to mutually respect sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders."
"Despite the suffering, deprivation, and destruction that the Azerbaijani people have undergone for many years, Azerbaijan is actively working to ensure a lasting peace with Armenia. There are opportunities and real prospects for establishing peace, strengthening stability, ensuring peaceful coexistence, advancing the peace agenda, investing in economic development and cooperation," Bayramov emphasized.
In the past year, the US' sphere of influence over regional politics has diminished, underlined by its absence from the Iranian-Saudi rapprochement which was mediated by China on March 10.
In the case of Baku and Yerevan, the US attempts to put its foot back into the region as Moscow headlined the peace talks between the two parties back in May.