US Secretary of State calls Ilham Aliyev to discuss normalization of relations between Azerbaijan & Armenia
On 25 July, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a phone call to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, president.az website reports.
Emphasizing that the United States supports the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the meeting and direct dialogue between the foreign ministers of the two countries in Tbilisi.
President Ilham Aliyev described the meeting between the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Tbilisi as the first step toward starting negotiations on a peace treaty between the two countries. The president said that Azerbaijan has already formed the composition of its commission for the preparation of a peace treaty and expects a similar step from Armenia, the presidential press service reports.
Antony Blinken reiterated the United States’ offer of assistance in helping facilitate the opening of regional transportation and communication linkages between Armenia and Azerbaijan and providing technical support in this area.
During the conversation, the significance of the Memorandum of Understanding in the energy sector, recently signed between Azerbaijan and the Commission of the European Union, was noted with satisfaction.
Touching upon humanitarian issues, the president stressed that after the first Armenian-Azerbaijani war, over 3,890 Azerbaijanis were considered missing, and drew attention to the fact that, despite repeated appeals to the Armenian side, no information on mass grave sites was provided, the report adds.
President Ilham Aliyev stressed that Armenia carried out mass mining of the territories of Azerbaijan liberated from occupation, and after the end of the war, over 240 Azerbaijani citizens died or lost their health as a result of mine explosions.
During the telephone conversation, an exchange of views took place on the prospects for cooperation.
For its part, the State Department in a tweet said that “@SecBlinken spoke with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev today about continued progress on Azerbaijan’s and Armenia’s path to peace. The U.S. stands ready to engage bilaterally to help Armenia and Azerbaijan find a long-term comprehensive peace”.
Similarly, a report attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price added that “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The Secretary and President Aliyev discussed Azerbaijan and Armenia’s historic opportunity to achieve peace in the region.
"The Secretary reiterated the United States’ offer of assistance in helping facilitate the opening of regional transportation and communication linkages. Secretary Blinken encouraged continued bilateral dialogue, such as the recent meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers in Tbilisi.
"The Secretary also reaffirmed support for productive EU-brokered discussions. He conveyed that the United States has been an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair since 1994 and stands ready to engage bilaterally and with like-minded partners to help Armenia and Azerbaijan find a long-term comprehensive peace. Secretary Blinken also urged President Aliyev to release all remaining Armenian detainees.”
In response to the mentioning of the OSCE Minsk Group in the press release of the US State Department, Haqqin.az news website, citing its own “diplomatic sources” denied that the issue was discussed in the phone conversation.
“The statement of the State Department noted that during the conversation, among other issues, the topic of resuming the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace was discussed.
“According to information received by Haqqin.az from diplomatic sources, there was no mention of the Minsk Group in Aliyev’s conversation with Blinken, in connection with which the source expressed sincere bewilderment at the fact of such obvious disinformation, calling it extremely inappropriate and even irresponsible. It is incompetent and wrong to discuss the idea of resuscitation of the OSCE Minsk Group that has sunk into oblivion,” the report added.
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