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Armenia, Azerbaijan Make Progress On Difficult Issues At U.S.-Hosted Talks, Blinken Says

In their discussions in Washington, Azerbaijan and Armenia have “demonstrated a sincere commitment to normalize relations” said U.S Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken.

Armenia, Azerbaijan Make Progress On Difficult Issues At U.S.-Hosted Talks, Blinken Says

Image: Secretary Antony Blinken/Twitter
(RFE.RL) Azerbaijan and Armenia made significant progress toward addressing difficult issues at "intensive and constructive" U.S.-hosted talks this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on May 4.

Blinken said in a statement that after a series of bilateral and trilateral discussions during four days of talks both sides "demonstrated a sincere commitment to normalizing relations and ending the long-standing conflict between their two countries."

The two sides agreed in principle to certain terms and have a better understanding of one another’s positions on outstanding issues, Blinken said.

He proposed that the ministers return to their capitals "to share with their governments the perspective that, with additional goodwill, flexibility, and compromise, an agreement is within reach."

Baku and Yerevan will continue to have the full support and engagement of the United States in their effort to secure a durable and sustainable peace, Blinken said.

Washington hosted Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov at a new State Department facility in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington.

Blinken said at the start of the meetings that dialogue between Yerevan and Baku is key to achieving lasting peace in the South Caucasus.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars over Nagorno-Karabakh -- in 1990 and 2020 -- and regularly clash over the territory.

Tensions flared anew last month when Azerbaijan installed a road checkpoint at the start of the Lachin Corridor, the only route linking Armenia to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

Armenia says the checkpoint, set up on April 23, is a violation of the 2020 Moscow-brokered cease-fire that brought an end to six weeks of fighting. Azerbaijan said it established the checkpoint in response to what it said were Armenian weapon supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh. Yerevan denies that charge.

A joint statement issued by the parties after the talks said Mirzoian and Bayramov and their teams "made progress in mutual understanding on some articles of the draft bilateral agreement on the Establishment Of Peace And Interstate Relations. The statement also noted that positions on a number of key issues remain different.

“The ministers presented their views on the current situation and expressed their positions on the existing problems related to the regulation of relations,” it said.

“The two ministers expressed their appreciation to the American side for hosting the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The parties have agreed to continue discussions," the statement concluded.

In addition to meeting Blinken, the ministers also met with national-security adviser Jake Sullivan.