Azerbaijan has declined an invitation from the US to participate in peace talks with Armenia in Washington today.
According to Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry, Azerbaijan would not send its foreign minister to participate in peace talks in the American capital due to the less-than-neutral stance of the administration of President Joe Biden on the ongoing crisis over Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku has specifically cited testimony by US Assistant Secretary of State James O’Brien to the House of Representatives omitting references to Azerbaijani peace overtures to Armenia.
Azerbaijan’s decision is a significant blow to US efforts to present as an honest broker in the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. On the micro level, it demonstrates a lack of unity and oversight within the State Department, criticized recently, for example, for internal dissent from some lower-level officials on the Biden administration’s policy toward Israel. On the macro level, expect the snub to help open the door for other interested brokers, like Turkey and Russia, to negotiate a peace agreement. The timing is especially poor for the US as Armenia and Azerbaijan have signalled—most recently at the latest meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Saturday—that Yerevan and Baku are moving closer to a treaty.