'Peace Is Possible', Blinken Tells Aliyev On A Sunday Call As Washington Talks Kick Off
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday spoke with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to underscore the importance of Azerbaijan-Armenia peace discussions and pledged continued U.S. support, Turan's Washington correspondent reports.
Blinken "shared his belief that peace was possible," State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a readout of the call.
The Secretary "also expressed the United States’ deep concern that Azerbaijan’s establishment of a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor undermines efforts to establish confidence in the peace process, and emphasized the importance of reopening the Lachin corridor to commercial and private vehicles as soon as possible," reads the readout.
In turn, the press service of the President of Azerbaijan reported that during the conversation, Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan supports the peace agenda. As for the establishment of a border checkpoint on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border in Lachin, this is the sovereign right of Azerbaijan. The border checkpoint does not restrict traffic, but provides border crossing control.
Aliyev also said that the rights of the Armenian population in Karabakh will be ensured within the framework of the Constitution of Azerbaijan and international documents.
Blinken's call came ahead of Washington peace talks between Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers, which will kick off today. Both ministers Jeyhun Bayramov and Ararat Mirzoyan have already arrived at the U.S. capital and the Secretary is planning to host a working dinner with them Sunday evening.
Most of the talks will take place at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, outside of Washington D.C., TURAN has learned from diplomatic sources. On Monday, Blinken will welcome the ministers separately at the Training Center and then will attend their bilateral peace negotiations.
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