Azerbaijan-Armenia: Peace Deal ‘Within Reach’, U.S. Says, As Ministers Agree On Some Articles In Washington

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The top U.S. diplomat said on Thursday that a peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan "within reach" after four days of talks outside Washington, TURAN's U.S. correspondent reports from the State Department.

"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," Secretary of State Antony Blkinken said in the closing session of the discussions between Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers Jeyhun Bayramov and Ararat Mirzoyan.

"I hope that they see and I believe that they do, as I do, that there is an agreement within sight, within reach," Blinken added.

The Secretary later emphasized in a separate statement that the two sides "demonstrated a sincere commitment" to normalizing relations and ending their longstanding conflict, and that they agreed in principle to certain terms, as well as, have a better understanding of one another's positions on outstanding issues.

"I have proposed the Ministers to return to their capitals to share with their governments the perspective that, with additional goodwill, flexibility, and compromise, an agreement is within reach," Blinken noted. "They will continue to have the full support and engagement of the United States in their effort to secure a durable and sustainable peace."

The two countries, in their turns, put out almost identical statements following the talks, saying they had laid out their positions on normalization. Both sides acknowledged, however, that the positions on some key issues remain divergent.

Blinken praised the foreign ministers for their leadership: "None of this is easy, but the commitment, the determination to move forward to deal with the remaining challenging issues is real," he said, adding, "... the last mile of any marathon is always the hardest. We know that."

"But the United States is here to continue to help both of our friends cross the finish line," he emphasized.

Reaching an agreement would be, as Blinken put it, "not only historic but would be profoundly in the interests of the people of Azerbaijan and Armenia and would have very positive effects even beyond their two countries.”

As TURAN reported earlier, the closed-door discussions were held far from the spotlight at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia.

Neither Bayramov, nor Mirzoyan spoke at the closing ceremony.

Source: Turan News Agency