No new progress was reported after foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov met in Tbilisi on Saturday. However, a senior State Department official called both top diplomats after the meeting to offer the United States’ “encouragement” on the talks.
The latest round of talks between Mirzoyan and Bayramov was hosted by Georgia’s Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili.
During the meeting, Mirzoyan and Bayramov discussed what Armenia’s foreign ministry called “a wide range of issues regarding the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.” To this end, the foreign ministry added, “the sides discussed the implementation of previously undertaken commitments and exchanged views on further possible steps.”
Mirzoyan reiterated Yerevan’s position that a political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is essential within the process of achieving sustainable and lasting peace in the region and stressed the importance of using the institution and experience of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship in accordance to its international mandate.
Azerbaijan has long written out the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and their efforts to mediate a settlement, because according to official Baku, the conflict was settled during the 2020 War, when Azerbaijan—aided by Turkey—unleashed massive aggression against Artsakh.
The talks between Mirzoyan and Bayramov were deemed a “positive step” by the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed talks saying, in a Tweeter post, that “direct dialogue is the surest path to resolving Azerbaijani and Armenian differences.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried reportedly called Mirzoyan and Bayramov and stressed the need for the continuation of the dialogue during her phone conversation with Bayramov.
According to the official Azerbaijani readout of the call, Bayramov presented Baku’s position on the planned demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and its opening to cargo shipments as well as preparations for official negotiations on a peace treaty between the two South Caucasus states, Azatutyun.am reported.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry made no mention of that treaty in a statement on Mirzoyan’s separate call with Donfried. It mentioned only the border demarcation and Armenian-Azerbaijani transport links.
“Ararat Mirzoyan emphasized that the Armenian side continues to attach importance to the role of the co-chairmanship and the co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group in the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” added Yerevan’s statement.