LOS ANGELES - As the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Kathryn Barger met with U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and select members of the Armenian community to discuss the conflict in Artsakh and ways to end the fighting and bring peace to Armenia.
Supervisor Barger condemned aggression of Azerbaijan and Turkey against Artsakh.
"My colleagues on the board join me to denounce the unprovoked and premediated attacks by Azerbaijan with the support of Turkey on the Republic of Artsakh. We remain very troubled by Azerbaijan’s refusal to honor the three separate ceasefire agreements in recent weeks and continued campaign to spread misinformation," Barger stated.
Barger says after three attempts of a ceasefire were broken a firm message is now required.
During a press conference Friday morning, United States National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said without leadership and compromise from both countries fighting will continue.
Since heavy fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan started on Sept. 27 hundreds of people on both sides have died, infrastructure and towns have been destroyed and most of the residents in Artsakh have been displaced.
Attempts of a ceasefire have been broken three times; with both sides calming the other violated it first.
O’Brien says Azerbaijan continues to make territorial gains and show no signs of stopping their offensive military campaign. He says Azerbaijan has been using their money to buy advanced weaponry and receive help from Turkey. O’Brien stated that there is creatable reports that Turkey deployed fighters from the Syrian opposition army into the conflict.
"Outside powers have no roll in this conflict. What is clear of the U.S, President Trump and my team is that there is no military solution to the political issues at stake in this conflict. Both sides must agree to a ceasefire and come to the negotiating table without preconditions. This is particularly true about the Azerbaijanis who have been the most hesitant about an unconditional ceasefire," O’Brien stated.
Due to the three violated ceasefire attempts, he says it’s hard to envision a long-term ceasefire settlement that doesn’t involve a multination armed peacekeeping force.
He says those peacekeeping forces should not include the Minsk Group, the U.S. or neighboring countries but should come from Scandinavia.
"We are working with Scandinavian government to put together a peacekeeping force that could be deployed into the region," O’Brien added.
He says countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland would meet the needs of both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
As far as sanctions against Turkey and Azerbaijan, O’Brien says the U.S. is looking into it but is trying to maintain some level of neutrality.
According to O’Brien the U.S. is committed to making peace for both countries and says he is hopeful for an immediate end to fighting and lasting peace. He says the U.S. will continue their engagement until that happens.
"I’m so grateful that the United States through the Trump administration has been able to support peace for Armenians, and my hope and great expectation is that will excel as we move forward," stated Sen. Mike Lee during the conference.