US reiterates offer to help Azerbaijan and Armenia for a long-term comprehensive peace
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate phone calls with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday, discussing the relations between the two Caucasian countries, according to the US Department of State.
Washington “stands ready to engage bilaterally and with likeminded partners to help Armenia and Azerbaijan find a long-term comprehensive peace,” Blinken told both leaders, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in written statements regarding the phone calls.
In September 2020, Azerbaijan and Armenia fought over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed area between the two neighbors since early 1990’s. The six weeks of clashes resulted with a Russia brokered truce agreement and Armenia gave back territories in the region as part of the November deal. Ankara sided with Baku in the conflict, providing military support to Azerbaijan.
Pashinyan and Aliyev held EU-mediated talks in Belgium in May, to pave the way for a future peace treaty between the two countries over the disputed region. The two leaders agreed on advanced negotiations, regarding the normalization process, which includes border delimitation and the reopening of regional transport links.
“The Secretary reiterated the United States’ offer of assistance in helping facilitate the opening of regional transportation and communication linkages,” Price said.
Encouraging continued bilateral dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan, such as the recent meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers in Tbilisi, Blinken also reaffirmed support for productive EU-brokered discussions.
In his call with Aliyev, Blinken called on Azerbaijani President to release all remaining Armenian detainees.
Blinken also “commended” Pashinyan on the positive effort and agreements made towards normalizing ties between Ankara and Yerevan, Price said.
The relations between Ankara and Yerevan have been frozen since early 1990’s, due to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. The two countries’ representatives begun talks in January, in an effort to mend fractured diplomatic ties.