Top U.S., E.U. and Russian Officials Held Secret Karabakh Meeting Before Azerbaijani Offensive
Top U.S. and European Union officials secretly met with their Russian counterparts in Turkey just days before Azerbaijan launched a military offensive on September 19 to take control of Nagorno Karabakh, this according to Politico.
Politico, in an article published today, writes that a senior diplomat with knowledge of the September 17 meeting in Istanbul described it as a last-ditch attempt to pressure Azerbaijan to end its none-month blockade of Karabakh and all humanitarian aid from Armenia.
“The U.S. was represented by Louis Bono, Washington’s senior adviser for Caucasus negotiations, while the EU dispatched Toivo Klaar, its representative for the region. Russia, meanwhile, sent Igor Khovaev, who serves as Putin’s special envoy on relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Politico writes.
Politico writes a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department declined to comment on the meeting, saying only that “we do not comment on private diplomatic discussions.”
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, commenting on this news, noted that prior to Azerbaijan’s September offensive, Brussels and Washington appealed to Moscow to hold a meeting on the subject of Nagorno Karabakh.
"I don't know about the secret negotiations of the U.S, the E.U. and Russia on the issue of Karabakh. The U.S. and the E.U. approached us. They asked to hold a meeting, I would say to even facilitate contacts, and their goal was also mentioned during the meeting. The parties exchanged views on the situation. That's it," said Zakharova.