First U.S. step away from South Caucasus: Americans advised not to travel either to Armenia or Azerbaijan
"Do not travel to Armenia/Azerbaijan due to COVID-19. Some areas have increased risk," the statement reads.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Armenia and Azerbaijan due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Armenia and Azerbaijan," it says.
Casualties continue to occur following intensive fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that occurred in the fall 2020.
Separately, the recommendations for both countries mentioned the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeepers in Azerbaijan and the liberated Azerbaijani regions. U.S. citizens are not advised to travel there because of "recent hostilities" (which apparently means the Second Karabakh War) and "casualties that continue to occur", as people are regularly killed by mines planted by the Armenian occupation forces.
"The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in and around Nagorno-Karabakh as access is restricted. Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas," the statement reads.
"Exercise caution on roads near Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan. Be aware that some portions of the road may cross international boundaries without notice. Roads may be controlled by checkpoints or closed to travelers without notice," they added.
The U.S. visitors are recommended to "prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations."
Recommendations for both countries are mirrored, except for one point: American citizens are invited to reconsider their trip to Azerbaijan due to "terrorism concerns", in particular, a call was made to avoid traveling along the border with Iran. Conventionally, one can see here a connection with the Saturday incident, when a group of criminals, crossing the border from Iran to Azerbaijan, shot dead two Azerbaijani border guards - but the real logic is different.
Due to the Armenian diaspora lobby, the United States has stayed on the side of Armenia in the post-war settlement in the South Caucasus. Synchronous coronavirus restrictions are just an excuse to declare the Republic of Azerbaijan a state with a terrorist threat. This is done out of the blue, because there have been no terrorist attacks in Azerbaijan for a very long time (with the exception of military strikes by the Armenian army during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict), the security situation on the republic is stable, and anyone who comes to Azerbaijan person can can prove it for themselves.
Thus, Washington has once again confirmed that it is more interested in putting pressure on one of the parties and supporting the other.
However, by doing so, Washington is actually moving away from the region, simultaneously urging its citizens not to travel to the South Caucasus and attacking Azerbaijan politically.