UNITED STATES— On Friday, October 23, the Trump administration appealed for a cessation of violence in Artsakh in two meetings with officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Republic of Artsakh, or the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, is an autonomous state in the Caucasus. It has an overwhelming Armenian population, and is governed by Armenians.
In 1921, Joseph Stalin granted the territory to Azerbaijan, to placate its ally, Turkey. With the dissolution of the USSR, conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated to war between 1988 and 1994. There have been additional border clashes in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.
The latest, and ongoing fighting, ignited on September 27. Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused the other of provocation, with Turkey avidly supporting Azerbaijan.
On Thursday, October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow’s information indicated that the death toll was nearing 5,000.
Diplomats held the meetings in the U.S., after efforts in Moscow and Paris, to urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to negotiate again after the failure of a temporary ceasefire brokered on October 9.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met separately in Washington with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov to put an “end [to] the violence and protect civilians.”
President Trump also addressed the conflict when asked by reporters, he stated: “We’re talking about it, we’re working with Armenia. We have a very good relationship with Armenia. They’re very good people, they’re so dedicated, they’re incredible people and we’ll see what happens… I think really good progress is being made… We have a lot of people living in this country from Armenia, originally from Armenia, and they’re great people, and we’re going to help them.”