US says peace deal within sight after Armenia–Azerbaijan talks

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© Mandel Ngan, AFP

Azerbaijan and Armenia have made "tangible progress" towards reaching a consensus in talks over the past few days, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday, adding a final agreement was within sight.

Washington is hosting this week the foreign ministers of the two South Caucasus rivals. Tensions between them have flared anew after Azerbaijan installed a road checkpoint at the start of the Lachin Corridor, the only route linking Armenia to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

"The two sides have discussed some very tough issues over the last few days, and they've made tangible progress on a durable peace agreement," Blinken said at a closing session for the bilateral peace negotiation.

He added that he believes that there is an agreement within sight and that Washington will continue to help both countries cross the finish line.

Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but home to mostly ethnic Armenians. Azerbaijan committed to keeping the route open as part of a Russian-brokered ceasefire in 2020 that ended a six-week war between the two countries.

Azerbaijan said it had established the checkpoint in response to what it said were Armenian weapon supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh. Yerevan denies that charge.

The parties have agreed to hold talks in Moscow at some point in the future, though no date has been set yet.


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