The United States has never said it is not going to continue to engage with Azerbaijan, Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Matthew Miller told a briefing on Tuesday, December 5.
Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James C. O’Brien will travel to Baku, the Department of State announced one day earlier. While in Baku, the Assistant Secretary will meet with Azerbaijani officials on strengthening bilateral relations and supporting the peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
When asked whether the trip is a departure from U.S. policy, Miller said: “Not at all.”
“We never said that we’re not going to continue to engage with Azerbaijan. That would be against our interests as the United States of America. We think it would be against the interests of peace and security in the region for us to just drop all of our diplomatic engagements with Azerbaijan,” the spokesperson said.
“We continue to engage directly with both Azerbaijan and Armenia to make clear – for example, in the case of Azerbaijan – where we have concerns. We’ve been concerned with the recent trend of detaining journalists. We continue to urge them to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, something that I’ve spoken to from this podium in the past. And we also continue to engage with them to urge them to seek a durable peace with Armenia, and that’s something that will continue to be the focus of our diplomatic engagements.”