New US senior advisor for Caucasus negotiations arrives in Azerbaijan
By Vugar Khalilov
Philip Reeker, Senior Adviser for Caucasus Negotiations of the US State Department, has arrived in Azerbaijan, Azernews reports, citing the US embassy in Azerbaijan.
During the visit, which will last until September 14, Reeker will discuss US support for diplomatic efforts between Azerbaijan and Armenia toward lasting peace, the embassy said.
As part of his South Caucasus trip, the senior advisor also paid a visit to Armenia and Georgia to discuss regional, as well as global security and stability with the relevant government officials.
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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