Blinken: Armenia and Azerbaijan are making progress in peace talks hosted by the United States

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that peace talks hosted by the US between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan showed progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, but that there was still hard work to be done to reach a final agreement.

“I deeply appreciate the opportunity that we had together, as well as our team, the National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, and I appreciate again… The additional progress toward this shared goal of getting to an agreement that includes agreement on some additional articles, and a deepening understanding of the positions on the issues… The other relationship, and the recognition that there is hard work to be done to try and reach a final agreement,” Blinken said at a news conference.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov were in the United States this week to take part in three days of negotiations to reach a peace agreement between the two countries.

Blinken added that officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan will continue to hold meetings with US and European officials in the coming weeks.

Blinken concluded in his remarks that there is a clear understanding from everyone that negotiations may become more challenging with dealing with the most difficult issues to reach a final peace agreement.

Earlier in the day, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the Armenian authorities will continue talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue with the Azerbaijani delegation to the United States despite the growing tension, as there is no alternative to peace in the region.

On Wednesday, the state-run Armenian news agency reported that four people were killed in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of shelling from Azerbaijan.

For its part, Baku said that the Azerbaijani army opened fire in response to Yerevan’s provocation.

At the end of last May, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced, in a tripartite meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh was developing towards a settlement.

Putin said, “In general, in my opinion, and regardless of any difficulties and problems, although they are sufficient, the situation is developing towards a settlement, and one of these areas is the work in the field of transportation connections”.

The decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh erupted in September 2020, the worst escalation since the 1990s.

Hostilities ended with the declaration of a tripartite ceasefire brokered by Russia in November 2020.

The two former Soviet countries agreed to deploy Russian peacekeepers to the region, and since then, there have been occasional clashes along the border.

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