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U.S. Pushes For Direct Peace Talks Between Azerbaijan And Armenia

  • The United States is encouraging ongoing dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia in order to achieve lasting peace.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reaffirmed America’s position, saying that the U.S. remains committed to promoting a peaceful future for the South Caucasus region. 
  • The two sides fought another bloody war in 2020 that lasted six weeks and killed thousands of people on both sides before a Russian-brokered cease-fire.
Armenia and Azerbaijan

The United States believes that continued direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan is key to resolving their issues and to reaching a lasting peace. Following talks between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Ceyhun Bayramov, hosted by U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken in Washington on November 7, State Department spokesman Ned Price told a news briefing the next day that the United States remains "committed to promoting a peaceful future for the South Caucasus region."

"What we are doing is trying to create a space and an opportunity for the two sides to come together, to identify their differences -- of which there are many -- and to attempt to bridge them," Price said at the November 8 briefing, highlighting as a "very positive sign" the fact that the two countries "could agree to not only issue a joint statement but to agree on the substance behind it."

Price said that it is "quite important" that during the Washington talks Armenia and Azerbaijan "were able to agree to continue meeting and engaging in direct dialogue and diplomacy in the weeks that follow."

In his November 7 remarks before proceeding to talks behind closed doors, Blinken praised Armenia and Azerbaijan for taking "courageous steps" toward peace.

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Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region for years. Armenian-backed separatists seized the mainly Armenian-populated region from Azerbaijan during a war in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

The two sides fought another bloody war in 2020 that lasted six weeks and killed thousands of people on both sides before a Russian-brokered cease-fire, resulting in Armenia losing control of parts of the region, which is part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent districts.

Under the cease-fire Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers, but periodic deadly skirmishes have threatened the fragile truce.

By RFE/RL

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