Peace deal 'within reach' between Armenia, Azerbaijan: Blinken
Blinken says considerable progress has been made during the talks, although no formal agreement has been reached between the two sides.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that a peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan is "within reach" after concluding four days of dialogue in Washington with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
Although no formal agreement has been reached between the two parties, Blinken said that considerable progress has been made.
It was an honor to host Azerbaijani Foreign Minister @Bayramov_Jeyhun and Armenian Foreign Minister @AraratMirzoyan at our beautiful new @FSIatState campus. Pleased with the progress made and optimistic an agreement is within reach. pic.twitter.com/rLOIwvagmM— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 4, 2023
"The two sides have discussed some very tough issues over the last few days, and they've made tangible progress on a durable peace agreement," Blinken said.
"I hope that they see and I believe that they do, as I do, that there is an agreement within sight, within reach," he added, noting that both parties "demonstrated a sincere commitment" to cease hostilities.
The top US diplomat indicated that "both Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed in principle to certain terms and have a better understanding of one another's positions on outstanding issues."
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, published on Thursday, that both countries have agreed on some provisions of a bilateral peace agreement.
"The Ministers and their teams advanced mutual understanding on some articles of the draft bilateral Agreement on Peace and Establishment of Interstate Relations," the statement read, adding "that the positions on some key issues remain divergent."
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The talks which lasted four days took place at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Washington DC. Prior to the start of the talks, a US official said that bilateral dialogue was a primary objective for both parties to move towards normalizing relations.
In the concluding comments of his statement, Blinken thanked both parties for their leadership and said, "None of this is easy, but the commitment, the determination to move forward, to deal with the remaining challenging issues is real."
"And we feel, coming out of these few days, that, as I said, we’ve made very tangible progress. A final agreement is within reach, and we’re determined to continue to help our friends achieve it," he added.
Earlier this week, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the resolution of the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan could only and exclusively be made with reference to the trilateral agreements concluded with Russia's involvement.
"The resolution of existing problems between the two countries and the possible development of joint actions and steps aimed at reducing tensions in the region are possible only based on trilateral documents, which were signed together with Russia," Peskov told journalists.
"There is no other legal framework as of yet capable of facilitating a settlement [of the conflict]," he continued. "Therefore, there are no alternatives so far to these trilateral documents."
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