Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released a statement on the fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave and called on the current administration to “get more involved.”
“Inexplicably, the Trump Administration has been largely passive, and disengaged, throughout this recent period of escalation,” Biden said. The former vice president said that since the fighting broke out on September 27th, neither President Trump nor Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with the leaders of Azerbaijan or Armenia.
“Rather than delegating the diplomacy to Moscow, the administration must get more involved, at the highest levels, by working with our European partners to de-escalate the fighting and return the two sides to negotiations,” Biden said.
Russia brokered a ceasefire last week after 10 hours of negotiations between the two sides, but the truce was short-lived, and the fighting continues with over 600 reported killed.
“The Trump Administration must tell Azerbaijan that it will not tolerate its efforts to impose a military solution to this conflict,” Biden said. “It must make clear to Armenia that regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be occupied indefinitely.”
Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic Armenian enclave within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan and has acted as a de facto independent state since 1994 with the support of Armenia. Yerevan also controls territory to the west of Nagorno-Karabakh that is technically within Azerbaijan’s borders.
“Finally, it must stop coddling Ankara and tell both Turkey and Iran to stay out of this conflict,” Biden said. Turkey has been a vocal supporter throughout the recent clashes, and has called on Armenia to end its “occupation” of Azerbaijan. Ankara also supports Baku militarily by supplying weapons and has been accused of sending mercenaries from northern Syria to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Iran, on the other hand, has stayed relatively neutral. Iran borders the warring countries and fears the conflict could turn into a regional war.