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U.S. vows support to Azerbaijan, Armenia in bringing peace to South Caucasus

28 May 2022 10:00 (UTC+04:00)
U.S. vows support to Azerbaijan, Armenia in bringing peace to South Caucasus

By Vugar Khalilov

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that his country will continue to engage in aiding the South Caucasus nations' search for peace, Azernews reports, citing the state secretary’s Twitter account.

“I spoke with Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan yesterday about how the United States supports the positive momentum in Armenian discussions with Azerbaijan and Turkey. The United States will continue to engage to help the South Caucasus find peace,” Blinken wrote.

“The United States welcomes the first joint meeting of the Armenia-Azerbaijan bilateral Border Commissions. The U.S. supports the EU-brokered conversations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and encourages continued positive momentum and bilateral dialogue in support of regional peace,” Blinken said in a different tweet.

Furthermore, the U.S. has disclosed the name of a nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Azerbaijan, Azernews reports citing the whitehouse.gov website.

The nominee Mark W. Libby is a State Department Faculty Advisor at the National War College in Washington, D.C., and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, the report said.

He formerly worked at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels as Deputy Chief of Mission and ad interim Chargé d'Affaires. Other abroad positions include stints as a Political Counselor in Warsaw, Nassau, Nicosia, and Baghdad.

Previously, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels. Other overseas assignments include tours in Warsaw, Nassau, Nicosia, and Baghdad, where he served as Political Counselor.

On May 24, the first meeting of border delimitation commissions led by Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and his Armenian Mher Grigoryan was held on the on the state border in line with the agreement reached between the leaders of the countries in Brussels.

The parties confirmed their willingness to cooperate on delimitation and other matters within the commission's framework. The conference also discussed the commission's joint operations' organizational and procedural difficulties.

Following the meeting, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said that positive steps have been taken during the meeting to normalize the relations with Armenia.

Armenia's Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan also described the first meeting of the national border commissions between Armenia and Azerbaijan as “constructive”, Azernews reports, citing the TASS agency.

"Indeed, on May 24, we had our first meeting at the border. At this meeting, we discussed only organizational issues of further joint work, and in this respect I think the meeting was quite constructive. There is no agreement yet on the date of the next meeting of the commissions on border delimitation and security, but there is confirmation that the meeting will be held in Moscow," he said.

Grigoryan confirmed that a trilateral working group meeting on unblocking transport and economic ties in the region, co-chaired by the Deputy Prime Ministers of Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan, will be held in Moscow next week.

"The specific date of this meeting is now in the process of agreement, and the agenda of the meeting includes issues related to the implementation of the agreements indicated in paragraph 9 of the trilateral statement of the leaders of Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan of November 9, 2020 and the statement of January 11, 2021. This agenda has nothing to do with delimitation," he added.

During the governmental hour in the National Assembly, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan stated that there are a few areas where Armenia and Azerbaijan have made progress, and there are others where the stances may or may not coincide, Azernews reports citing Armenian media.

“For example, there is already some progress in issues of demarcation and delimitation, security issues. You know that yesterday [May 24] the deputy prime ministers and the commissions headed by them met with each other on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and at the first meeting, working and methodological issues were discussed. There is an agreement to hold the next meeting in Moscow,” Mirzoyan said.

Speaking about the unblocking of the regional communication lines, he stressed that all roads that the unblocked roads should be under the sovereignty and laws of the countries through which they pass.

The foreign minister reaffirmed that the "Zangazur corridor" is unacceptable to Armenia in the form outlined a year and a half ago and attempted to depict by the Azerbaijani side, and there appears to be a widespread belief that this will not be the case.

As for the peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Mirzoyan noted that negotiations are underway.

"Here the parties are trying to understand the parameters, the structure, the format, etc. We have our clear positions here, and Azerbaijan has its own positions. One or another mediator from time to time expresses its position. These positions do not always coincide or do not coincide much more often than they do, but negotiations are held to solve such issues," Mirzoyan concluded.

To recap, on May 23, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed decrees on the creation of border delimitation and security commissions.

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