New US senior advisor for Caucasus negotiations to visit region soon
By Vugar Khalilov
Philip Reeker, new Senior Adviser for Caucasus Negotiations of the US State Department, will visit the region soon, Azernews reports, citing Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson at U.S. Department of State.
In conformity with Patel, Reeker will pay visits to the three South Caucasus states of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan during his first tour to the region.
“Ambassador Reeker, our senior advisor for Caucasus negotiations, will be traveling to the region this week in what will be his first trip in this new role. This is a first of what we expect to be regular travel to the region. He departs this evening and will be going to Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, and in all three countries he’ll meet with senior officials to discuss key issues in the region as well as looking for pathways to assist partners and engaging directly and constructively to resolve outstanding issues and further regional cooperation,” Patel detailed.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken named Reeker as senior advisor for Caucasus negotiations on August 24, 2022. In this position, he serves as co-chair of the US OSCE Minsk Group and principal negotiator for the US delegation to the Geneva International Discussions.
“I have appointed Ambassador Philip Reeker as Senior Advisor for Caucasus Negotiations and Minsk Group Co-Chair. Ambassador Reeker’s appointment reaffirms our commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts in the South Caucasus,” Blinken wrote on his Twitter account.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan protested against this decision of the US, saying that the resurrection efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group may lead to the alienation of the country from the Azerbaijan-Armenia normalization process, Azernews reports, citing Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva.
“Attempts to `resuscitate' the de-facto non-functioning Minsk Group may result in the USA to be estranged from the process of normalization of the Azerbaijani-Armenian relations,” Abdullayeva stressed.
The spokesperson described the press statement as “surprising” and “an approach far from the post-conflict reality in the region”.
According to the diplomat, Azerbaijan's position on the Minsk Group has been consistently and unequivocally stated at the highest level.
“The Karabakh conflict has been resolved and Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan. The international community, including our partners, should understand that connecting negotiation on the normalization of the Azerbaijani-Armenian relations with the Karabakh issue does not serve normalization at all,” Abdullayeva emphasized.
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