Pashinyan, Blinken Discuss Increased Tensions in Karabakh and US-Armenian Relations

YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken by phone on Tuesday before flying to Brussels for potentially crucial talks with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

An Armenian government statement on the phone call said they discussed, among other things, “processes taking place in the South Caucasus” and “increased tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh.”

“The parties stressed the importance of ensuring stability and peace in the region, emphasizing the importance of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ format,” the statement said, adding that they also touched upon the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit that will be hosted on Wednesday by Charles Michel, the top European Union official.

The scheduled trilateral meeting with Michel was announced a week after Azerbaijani troops seized a village in eastern Karabakh and tried to push deeper into the territory, sparking deadly fighting with Karabakh Defense forces.

Russia called for an immediate Azerbaijani withdrawal from the “zone of responsibility” of 2,000 Russian peacekeepers stationed in Karabakh.

The U.S. State Department likewise deplored the Azerbaijani troop movements, calling them “irresponsible and unnecessarily provocative.”

Pashinyan briefed Blinken on “the situation in Karabakh caused by the actions of Azerbaijani army units.”

The two men also discussed U.S.-Armenian relations and the conflict in Ukraine, according to the official Armenian readout of their phone call.

Blinken and the State Department did not immediately issue any statements on the conversation.