Blinken discusses peace talks with Armenia, Azerbaijan leaders

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held calls with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders yesterday to discuss stalled peace talks between the Caucasus rivals.

Washington, Brussels and Moscow have all been engaged in diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between the two countries, but a broad peace deal has remained elusive.

Azerbaijan refused to participate in talks that were planned in the U.S. earlier this month over what it called Washington's "biased" position.

In a phone call with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev yesterday, Blinken highlighted the United States' "enduring relations with Azerbaijan," but also "noted recent points of concern in the relationship," his spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

The call was seen as an attempt to put the U.S. back at the center of talks amid a diplomatic row between Washington and Baku.

Earlier in November, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James O'Brien said Washington had cancelled a number of high-level visits to Azerbaijan and condemned Baku's Sept. 19 one-day military operation in Karabakh.

Baku said Aliyev had told Blinken that "the latest statements and actions taken by the US have seriously damaged Azerbaijan-U.S. relations."

Nevertheless, it said the two sides had agreed that O'Brien would visit Azerbaijan in December, and that Blinken had promised to lift a ban on Azerbaijani officials visiting the US.

In a separate call, Blinken also spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to highlight "US support for efforts to reach a durable and dignified peace agreement," his spokesman said.

Continue reading on: