US Secretary of States, Antony Blinken, on Monday (25 July) held separate conversations with the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, and Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev.
In brief readouts the US State department said that in their conversation, Blinken and Pashinyan discussed Armenia and Azerbaijan’s historic opportunity to achieve peace in the region. "The Secretary offered the United States’ assistance in facilitating regional transportation and communication linkages. The Secretary encouraged continued bilateral dialogue and hailed the recent meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers in Tbilisi. He also reaffirmed support for productive EU-brokered discussions and noted that the United States has been an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair since 1994 and stands ready to engage bilaterally and with likeminded partners to help Armenia and Azerbaijan find a long-term comprehensive peace. Secretary Blinken also commended the Prime Minister on the positive momentum and concrete agreements made towards normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey.
In a separate readout of the discussion with the Azerbaijani president, the State Department said that Blinken and 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 likeminded 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 an odd twist, the Azerbaijani website Haqqin,az, which often reflects the views of the country's presidential administration, carried a story in which they denied that Blinken and Aliyev discussed the OSCE Minsk Group and accused the US of disinformation. In fact nothing in the US readout suggests that the Minsk Group was discussed, simply that Blinken had mentioned that the US had been co-chair of the Minsk Group since 1994., suggesting in fact that in the future it was ready to engage "bilaterally and with like-minded partners", which at the moment definitely excludes Russia - another Minsk Group co-Chair country.