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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Monday to promote peace between the two former Soviet countries after a new round of border clashes that have killed more than 200 people.
Blinken gathered the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzayan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov on Hotel New York on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly. It was their first face-to-face meeting since the fighting began last week.
Blinken, who has spoken several times with the leaders of both countries, said the US was encouraged by the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan after two days of shelling.
“Strong, sustained diplomatic engagement is the best way forward for all,” he said. “There is a path to a lasting peace that eliminates differences.”
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Speaking before Monday’s meeting, Bayramov said his country was “satisfied with the level of relations” with the US and said his direct talks with Mirzayan were not unusual.
The conflict centers around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is ethnically Armenian but legally belongs to Azerbaijan, a situation that has led to decades of violence.
The meeting took place after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the attacks of Azerbaijan at a Sunday press conference with Armenian officials regarding Armenia as “illegal”. The Azerbaijani government, in turn, dismissed Pelassi’s comments as “Armenian propaganda.”
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The latest round of fighting was the worst since 2020, when Azerbaijan retook large swaths of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories from Armenian forces during a six-week war. More than 6,700 people died in these battles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.