January 25, 2023 - 11:40 AMT
U.S. concerned about worsening humanitarian situation in Karabakh

The United States is concerned that the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is worsening, Department of State spokesperson Ned Price told a briefing on Tuesday, January 24.

Price told repirters the U.S. is hoping to see direct dialogue leading to a resolution of the issues that have long divided Armenia and Azerbaijan – and through that dialogue, hopefully reaching a lasting peace.

"We’re continuing to engage in direct discussions with Armenia and Azerbaijan. We’re doing that bilaterally; we’re doing that with partners; we’re doing that through multilateral institutions," Price said.

"We’ve had an occasion to do that trilaterally a couple times last year as well. We are going to do what is most effective to bring about a resolution to these very thorny issues."

When asked if Secretary of State Antony Blinken has a.clear understanding of where the negotiation process is stalled at this point, Price said they have a "good sense of the state of play."

"We have various concerns. Let me just state, on the topic of those concerns, our concerns regarding the Lachin corridor. We are concerned that the situation there is worsening; the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh has been a focus of not only the Secretary but others in this building. Ongoing obstruction of normal commercial and private travel along the Lachin corridor is causing shortages of food, fuel, and medicine for the residents who depend on the corridor for those very basic supplies. Periodic disruptions to natural gas and other basic utilities exacerbate the worsening humanitarian situation. We call for the full restoration of free movement through the corridor, including commercial and private travel," the spokesperson added.

"We believe we need a solution to this impasse that will ensure the safety and well-being of the population living in the area, and we believe the way forward is, as I said before, through negotiations. We remain committed to supporting a lasting peace."

Blinken earlier spoke to Azerbaijani Presidebt Ilham Aliyev and urged him to redouble his efforts on peace negotiations. In a phone call with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, thr Secretary welcomed his commitment.