The United States on Thursday urged Azerbaijan and Armenia to seize peace initiatives as both countries traded gunfire along borders ahead of this weekend's Brussels talks, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.
"This kind of violence, we believe -- it undermines the progress made by Armenia and Azerbaijan toward a durable and dignified peace, and we call on the leaders of both of these countries that when they convene in Brussels on the 14th to... agree to distance their forces along the border, as discussed by Secretary Blinken" State Department's Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told a daily press briefing.
Washington recently hosted four days of talks between Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers and EU-mediated talks between Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan are scheduled for this weekend.
When asked by TURAN whether Washington viewed the upcoming dialogue as continuation of Washington talks, Patel said the following:
"We see the dialogue that we hosted as important, positive steps in which we felt the two countries had the opportunity to engage on some important issues, see the other side’s point of view. And we believe that there continues to be a durable path forward. We believe that there is a peaceful solution to this. It’s why we, from the Secretary on down, have continued to be so deeply engaged on this. But I’m not going to get ahead of these talks themselves."
TURAN also asked Patel about the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson's latest comments on U.S.-led talks in which she'd questioned Washington's optimism about the latest dialogue.
"I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what my Russian counterpart says from her podium," Patel said in response.
He went on to add, "... As it relates to this very important issue of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is something that this department will continue to remain deeply engaged on."
Washington 'believes' that there is a clear path forward, Patel added. "We obviously were happy to host these two countries at the beginning of May. We believe that those talks were fruitful and laid the groundwork for a continuation of these talks beginning in Brussels, and we’ll let that process play out," he concluded.
Advancing peace in the South Caucasus has also been a subject to high-level talks between top U.S. and French diplomats on Thursday,TURAN reports.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke with French Foreign Ministry Secretary General Anne-Marie Descôtes and they "highlighted their commitment to advancing peace and reconciliation efforts in the South Caucasus," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a redout of the call.
Source: Turan News Agency