Wednesday, February 21, 2024

US top diplomat discusses possibility of peace treaty with Armenia, Azerbaijan leaders

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan the possibility of concluding a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan.

According to one of the statements distributed by State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller, Blinken “welcomed President Aliyev’s commitment to conclude a durable and dignified peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia”. The top US diplomat pointed out that “this long-standing conflict has caused Azerbaijanis and Armenians” and “underscored the benefits that peace would bring to everyone in the region”.

In addition, Blinken discussed US-Azerbaijan bilateral relations with Aliyev, “noted recent points of concern,” and touched on “opportunities to strengthen cooperation”.

In another statement on the US Secretary of State’s conversation with Pashinyan, it is noted that Blinken “discussed US support for efforts to reach a durable and dignified peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan”. At the same time, the top US diplomat reaffirmed “the United States’ ongoing support for Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and pointed to “efforts to increase bilateral cooperation with Armenia”.

On November 18, at the opening ceremony of the fall session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in the Armenian capital, the country’s Prime Minister stated that Yerevan and Baku had been able to agree on the basic principles of a peace agreement. Two days later, at a press conference following talks with his Iraqi counterpart Abdul Latif Rashid, the Azerbaijani president said that he was waiting for the Armenian side’s response to the peace treaty proposals that Baku had submitted to Yerevan more than two months ago.

On September 19, tensions flared up again in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku announced it was launching what it described as “local anti-terrorist measures” and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the region. Yerevan, in turn, said there were no Armenian forces in Karabakh, calling what was happening “an act of large-scale aggression”.

On September 20, an agreement on the cessation of hostilities was reached. On September 21, representatives of Baku and the Armenian population of Karabakh met in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlakh “to discuss reintegration issues.”

On September 28, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Samvel Shahramanyan signed a decree officially dissolving the unrecognized state effective January 1, 2024. The local ethnic Armenian population has been advised to consider the reintegration proposals being put forward by Baku and decide for themselves whether to remain or to relocate, most likely to nearby Armenia.

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