Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker's regional visit to Armenia was particularly overshadowed by the noise of the election campaign, but it should be understood that the visit was not accidental at all, especially in terms of timing. The Armenian elections are not secondary, and the American official emphasized it during the meetings with both Acting Prime Minister Pashinyan and the Minister of Justice. Washington expects that Armenia will be able to maintain the high level set in the previous parliamentary elections; and the democratic reforms launched in the country will not be undermined under any circumstances.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that at least in the core of Reeker’s visits to Baku, Yerevan, the Artsakh issue was particularly emphasized, especially if we take into account that OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair Andrew Shaffer accompanied the US State Department official. This, in fact, was a signal to the parties, in particular to Baku, that the conflict has not been resolved, and it is necessary to prepare for the imminent resumption of negotiations within the Mink Group format. Let us say, this was and remains one of the key statements of the Armenian side.
“The position of the Armenian side is that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be settled within the framework of the peace process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, based on the principles proposed by the Co-Chairs,” said Nikol Pashinyan, Acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.
In this regard, it should be noted that the views of Yerevan and Washington coincide on these two issues: all the captives should be released immediately, without preconditions, and the Azerbaijani troops should leave the territory of Armenia, being redeployed to the starting positions of May 11.
It is impossible not to notice that Philip Reeker, Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, paid a regional visit at a time when not only the South Caucasus but also the Middle East are on the verge of profound change. Iran, having the economic and political support of China in this matter, is increasing its influence and has launched the South-North transport corridor initiative. The West, particularly United States, has apparently decided not to oppose this time, but to cooperate. And perhaps, it is due to this fact that 2/3 of the sanctions were recently lifted from Iran. Moreover, it is noteworthy that a key role in the construction of the corridor is planned for Armenia and Georgia, while Baku is in a hurry to overthrow at least the part of the program that refers to Armenia. In this regard, the visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister to the region should not be considered accidental, after which, by the way, the Azerbaijani side immediately stopped all attempts to launch provocations in the direction of Syunik province of Armenia. And now the visit of an American official full of significant messages, which, by the way, is not accidental, preceded the upcoming NATO summit and in parallel with it, including the raising of the Artsakh issue.