Asbarez: Baku Reportedly Refused to Meet with Senior U.S. Diplomat

U.S. special envoy Louis Bono meets with Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan in Yerevan on Jan. 8

Azerbaijani media reported on Thursday that officials in Baku refused to meet with Louis Bono, the Secretary of State’s senior advisor on the Caucasus, saying the U.S. is not a reliable mediator.

The Baku-based Minval news agency reported that Azerbaijani officials “do not accept” the United States mediation approaches and “do not see the U.S. as a reliable mediator.”

Bono, who visited Armenia on Wednesday, did not travel to Baku as part of his regional tour.

The U.S. Embassy in Armenia did not deny that Azerbaijani officials refused to meet with Bono.

Radar Armenia, a Yerevan-based news agency, which reported on the Azerbaijani media report, queried the U.S. Embassy about the incident.

“L. Bono, Senior Adviser on Caucasus Negotiations, frequently visits the region to discuss US support for the peace process and ways to achieve a lasting and dignified peace. Mr. Bono regularly meets with key stakeholders in Armenia and Azerbaijan to support the peace process. We are ready to help with any process that will bring peace and stability to the people of the South Caucasus,” said the U.S. Embassy’s response to Radar Armenia.

When Bono was in Yerevan on Monday he met with several government officials, including Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Armenia’s National Security chief Armen Grigoryan.

After the visit, Grigoryan said that Bono continued to push for fresh talks between Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Washington, which were scheduled to be held in November, but were canceled after Baku backed out of the meeting.

Yet the U.S. remains convinced of the possibility for durable peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“We continue to believe that a durable peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan is possible. It is something that the department will continue to work towards. Obviously, coordinator Bono, the secretary, and others continue to be deeply engaged in it,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a news briefing on Wednesday.