Official Washington has asked Baku and Yerevan to "consider how best to protect the rights and security" of people in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to comments received by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Armenian Service.
According to written comments to RFE/RL from a U.S. State Department spokesperson on Tuesday (2 May), "the question of the rights and security of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh is central to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan."
The official said, "ultimately ensuring that this population can feel secure in their homes and have their rights protected is the only way to guarantee a lasting settlement to a conflict that has lasted too long and cost too many lives."
The spokesperson stressed, however, that "the scope and nature of the agreement to normalise relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan is between the two parties", adding that the U.S. is "honoured" to be hosting the talks and that they remain "committed to promoting a peaceful future for the South Caucasus region".
"Our goal is to provide a location where there can be bilateral discussions and the parties can undertake the real hard work together to make progress on lasting peace. Specifics on what is – and is not – part of their agreement is a question for the parties," the U.S. official added.
Russia continues to insist that Moscow-led mediation holds the key to peace
Meanwhile, Russia continues to insist that the only way to achieve a lasting Armenia-Azerbaijan settlement is through the full implementation of the 2020 trilateral agreement between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan that brough the 2020 Second Karabakh War to an end.
"There is no alternative to these agreements," said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov, according to Russian media.
"The resolution of the existing problems between the two countries and possible development of some joint actions and steps aimed at reducing tensions in the region are primarily possible on the basis of the tripartite documents that were signed together with Russia. So far, there has been no other legal framework that would contribute to the settlement. Thus, so far these tripartite documents have absolutely no alternative," said Peskov.
Discussions between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Washington D.C. are expected to continue on Wednesday (3 May).