Antony Blinken praises Yerevan and Baku for taking ‘courageous steps’ towards a durable peace as he hosts a meeting in Washington, DC.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has hosted talks between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, praising the rival nations that have repeatedly clashed over the Nagorno-Karabakh region for taking “courageous steps” towards a durable peace.
Blinken met Armenian foreign minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov at Blair House, a state guest house in Washington, DC, on Monday, just weeks after the worst fighting between the two countries since a 2020 war.
“What we are seeing now are real steps and courageous steps by both countries to put the past behind and to work toward a durable peace,” Blinken said in public comments opening the meeting.
The top US diplomat said the talks would build on earlier discussions at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and other conversations between officials from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the US.
“The United States as a friend to both Armenia and Azerbaijan is committed to doing everything that we can to support you in this effort,” he said. “Direct dialogue is the best way to a truly durable peace, and we are very pleased to support that.”
The rest of the meeting was held behind closed doors.
A week ago, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev “agreed not to use force” to resolve their dispute over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh during a summit in Russia hosted by President Vladimir Putin.
However, in the early hours of Monday, Azerbaijani forces opened fire on Armenian positions in the eastern sector of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the defense ministry in Yerevan said in a statement, adding there had been no casualties. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry accused Armenian forces of shooting at the positions of Azerbaijani troops stationed at several locations on the frontier.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday called on both parties to “refrain from the actions and steps that could lead to an escalation of tensions”.