Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US embassy in Azerbaijan sounds alarm over threats against foreigners

US embassy in Azerbaijan sounds alarm over threats against foreigners

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A woman walks past a building with a painting of the Azerbaijani flag on its wall in Baku on October 14, 2020, amid the ongoing military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region. AFP

US embassy in Azerbaijan sounds alarm over threats against foreigners

The US on Saturday warned that foreigners could be targeted by kidnappers or attackers in Azerbaijan, where a conflict is roiling the separatist province of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The US Embassy in Baku has received credible reports of potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings against US citizens and foreign nationals in Baku,” the diplomatic mission said on its website in a message shared by the State Department on Twitter.

“US citizens are advised to exercise heightened caution in locations where Americans or foreigners may gather,” including major hotels in the capital, the embassy added, without further details on the origin of the threats.

The warning comes in the wake of a similar message in Turkey, where US diplomats have reported “credible” threats of attacks or kidnappings targeting Americans in Istanbul or other localities.

It was not clear if the warnings were linked.

Turkey’s involvement in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, recognised internationally as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by Armenian separatists, has raised the concern of several Western countries since it said it wanted to help Azerbaijan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met separately on Friday with his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan, urging them to “end the violence and protect civilians”.

During that meeting, Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan pressed concerns about Azerbaijan receiving weapons from its ally Turkey, accusations already made by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian and Armenian President Armen Sarkissian.

The US has said it is neutral but Pompeo has criticised Turkey and in a recent interview described Armenia’s actions as defensive.

Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of having targeted the civilian population since the beginning of hostilities on September 27 in the mountainous region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the death toll was nearing 5,000 in the worst flare-up in Nagorno-Karabakh in more than two decades.


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