Armenia and Azerbaijan Close to “Dignified” Peace Deal: Blinken

Wed Jul 10 2024
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WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Armenia and Azerbaijan are nearing a significant peace agreement described as “dignified,” as he facilitated talks between the foreign ministers of both nations on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Washington.

Years of diplomatic efforts between the historical rivals in the Caucasus region have struggled to achieve a breakthrough. However, recent negotiations have gained momentum, particularly following Azerbaijan’s decisive victory last year in reclaiming the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Addressing the media ahead of the talks, Blinken said, “Based on all the engagements that we’ve had, including in recent weeks, I believe that both countries are very close to being able to reach a final agreement, one that the United States would strongly, strongly support.”

The US Secretary of State said that the ongoing talks aim to establish an enduring and respectful peace deal that could foster significant opportunities for both Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as enhance their relations with the United States and the broader region.

“We are working on an agreement that is durable, one that is dignified and one that can open extraordinary possibilities for both countries, the region that they share and for their relationship with the United States,” Blinken added.

During the talks, Blinken pledged US assistance in facilitating the negotiation process.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians, has resulted in two major wars — one in the 1990s and another in 2020. Azerbaijan’s successful military campaign last year led to the displacement of over 100,000 ethnic Armenians from the region.

Historically aligned with Russia for security, Armenia has increasingly turned to the United States and the European Union following Azerbaijan’s territorial gains. The recent diplomatic efforts have seen Armenia return four border villages to Azerbaijan and express readiness to sign a peace agreement within a short timeframe.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has indicated a willingness to revise the country’s constitution to remove references that may impede peace negotiations, responding to demands from Baku to drop territorial claims related to Nagorno-Karabakh.

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