U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host next week a fresh meeting of his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan announced on Thursday.
“In the next few days I will leave for Washington where I will meet with Secretary of State Blinken and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister [Jeyhun] Bayramov,” Mirzoyan told lawmakers in Yerevan.
“Especially after Azerbaijan’s aggression on September 13, I think that the international community sent a very clear message to Azerbaijan that the use of force or threatening to do so cannot be a way to solve issues,” Mirzoyan added, speaking at parliament.
Blinken already held trilateral talks with Bayramov and Mirzoyan in New York on September 19 in the wake of large-scale fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border which killed at least 280 soldiers. The Armenian and Azerbaijani ministers met again in Geneva on October 2 and in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on October 14.
Mirzoyan announced their upcoming fresh talks three days after the leaders of the two South Caucasus countries met together with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. The summit underscored Russia’s efforts to wrest back the initiative in the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiating process largely mediated by Western powers in recent months.
Mirzoyan said on Thursday that Armenia is willing to negotiate “on various platforms” amid “growing international attention” to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. He complained that Baku is sticking to “maximalist positions” on key issues.
“My impression is that Azerbaijan thinks it has had military successes and can now dictate terms to Armenia,” he said. “This definitely cannot be the case.”
Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, said earlier this week that Washington remains “committed to Armenian-Azerbaijan peace and negotiations between the two countries.”
“So we’ll continue to engage over the next months to facilitate discussions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, bilaterally, with partners, and through multilateral organizations as well,” Price told reporters.