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US offers help to connect Armenia and Azerbaijan

#offers #connect #Armenia #Azerbaijan

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday offered US assistance in building ties between Armenia and Azerbaijan, encouraging a lasting deal between the opponents two years after a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

In separate talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Blinken said the two nations have a “historic opportunity to achieve peace in the region.”

Blinken “offered its assistance to the United States in facilitating regional transportation and communications links,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Aliyev and Pashinyan met under EU mediation in May to discuss a future peace deal. Their foreign ministers held talks in neighboring Georgia this month.

Russia brokered a ceasefire in 2020 that ended a six-week war that claimed more than 6,500 lives. Russia sent around 2,000 peacekeepers, and Armenia agreed to cede parts of territory it had controlled for decades.

The United States, Russia, and France — all of which have strong Armenian diasporas — formed the so-called Minsk Group, which attempted to negotiate a solution amid the first war in the 1990s over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated region that was internationally recognized recognized is part of Azerbaijan.

The United States has drastically reduced contact with Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February, although Washington has maintained indirect contact with Moscow on some international issues, such as Iran.

Price said the United States stands ready to work with “like-minded partners” to support peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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#offers #connect #Armenia #Azerbaijan

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