The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has hailed "further progress" after three days of talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, in Washington D.C.
Speaking in a short press conference after the conclusion of the talks on Thursday (29 June), Blinken said that "further progress toward this shared objective of an agreement" has been made. He also said that there has been "agreement on some additional articles as well as a deepening understanding of the positions on other outstanding issues", but cautioned that there "remains hard work to be done to try to reach a final agreement".
"I think there’s also a clear understanding on everyone’s part that the closer we get, the closer you get to reaching an agreement, in some cases the harder it gets, because by definition the most difficult issues are left for the end," Blinken continued.
"But I very much appreciate the spirit of candor, openness, directness that everyone has exhibited. That is the way, ultimately, to reach understanding and, finally, to reach agreement."
Meanwhile, in a joint statement released by both the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministries confirmed that talks focused on an "Agreement on Peace and Establishment of Interstate Relations", and added that Mirzoyan and Bayramov "reached an agreement on additional articles and achieved mutual understanding on the draft agreement, meanwhile acknowledging that the positions on some key issues require further work".
The statement did not disclose the current sticking points, however before the talks the sides were understood to disagree on the practical modalities of border delimitation, the facilitation of Baku-Stepanakert dialogue, as well as international safeguards against non-compliance with the treaty.