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White House hosts Azerbaijani, Armenian foreign ministers

The White House on Wednesday welcomed the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, who have been holding peace talks in Washington, D.C. 

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Twitter that it was “good to host” Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan at the White House, adding he welcomes the “progress Armenia & Azerbaijan have made in talks,” encouraging “continued dialogue.”

“A sustainable & just agreement will be key to unlocking opportunities for both countries & the region,” he said.

Bayramov and Mirzoyan have been holding peace talks in the US since Sunday.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met separately with Bayramov and Mirzoyan at the George P. Shultz National Affairs Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia.

US State Department Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said the secretary believes that “direct dialogue is key to resolving issues and reaching a lasting peace.”

He said the US believes that “peace is possible between these two countries, and we are glad to be welcoming them.”

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

Most of the territory was liberated by Baku during a war in the fall of 2020 which ended after a Russian-brokered peace agreement and opened the door to normalization.

However, the establishment of a checkpoint on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the South Caucasus region last month sparked tensions.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said the border checkpoint was created in response to security threats from Armenia, citing the transfer of weapons and ammunition to the Karabakh region. Yerevan denied the charges.

Washington said previously that it was “deeply concerned” by Azerbaijan establishing a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor.

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