U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said that his visit to Azerbaijan and Armenia does not mean that Washington has changed its policy towards the region.Speaking at the conference in Yerevan, he said that the parties to the conflict should continue to look for solutions together.
"My visit to the region was not a signal for a change in the U.S. policy on this issue or other proposals from the U.S," RIA Novosti cited Bolton as saying.
The National Security Adviser said the Karabakh settlement remains one of the priority issues of the Armenian foreign policy agenda, stressing that if the resolution of this issue were easy, it would have been settled long time ago.
He also noted that the best way to minimize external pressure for Armenia is to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Bolton noted that the parties could discuss various proposals, and there should be no restrictions for them and if a proposal is submitted, that does not mean that it must necessarily be accepted.
Bolton also said that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s victory in the upcoming early parliamentary elections would give him a strong mandate for taking decisive steps, including in the Nagorno Karabakh settlement.
Speaking at a news conference, he said if public opinion forecasts appeared to be true, after the elections, Nikol Pashinyan would have a very strong mandate to implement a series of decisive steps for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
Head of the expert council of Baku Network, Elkhan Alasgarov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza earlier, noted that these statements made by American and German officials point to the West's intention to seriously intensify efforts to involve the South Caucasus in its orbit. “After Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, there was a very long process of internal contradictions in Washington, due to which the American foreign policy was very uncertain, but according to the State Department representative's statement, we see that this period is over. Kent clearly said that the United States is in favor of a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on four UN resolutions, which imply the withdrawal of the occupying Armenian army from the territories of Azerbaijan, and the Madrid principles, which testifies to the U.S. desire to intensify its foreign policy associated with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he said.
"Germany's statement in response to a request for the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is also important. Berlin confirmed that it recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan, and that the resolution of the conflict should be within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. I think these are two interrelated statements, that is, Western countries intend to intensify their policies in the South Caucasus," Elkhan Aleskerov stressed.
Director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, in turn, stressed that the West still limits itself to statements and does not take practical steps towards a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "It is worth noting that Washington and Moscow have no serious contradiction in the OSCE Minsk Group, which is very good for Baku, since both the U.S. and Russia support the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The difference between the positions of the United States and Russia lies in the fact that Moscow is more or less active in this matter and tries to help Azerbaijan and Armenia to reach a decision, in particular through the development of the Kazan formula - while the United States takes a passive position. As they say, thank you for not interfering," he said.
"The absence of differences between Russia and the United States in the OSCE Minsk Group is important, because Washington actively opposes us in other areas - Syria, Ukraine. I think, ideally, the United States will retain the position when they verbally support a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but do not oppose Russian efforts. By the way, we should not forget that there is a large Armenian diaspora in the United States and France, and therefore, to some extent, there is a pro-Armenians position there. So I would consider Kent’s statement as part of a regular visit to the region by an official specializing on it," Sergey Markov concluded, adding that if Washington wants to make a practical contribution to the settlement, it could reduce its economic aid to Armenia and ban their officials from visiting Karabakh not through Azerbaijan - but this is not happening yet.