Blinken meets with top diplomats in bid to end fighting between Armenia, Azerbaijan

The United States is urging Armenian and Azerbaijani officials to continue face-to-face meetings before the end of the month to ease tensions following recent border clashes that have killed hundreds of people.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday hosted talks between top diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan on the sidelines of an annual session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

“Secretary Blinken conveyed condolences for the lives lost and emphasized the need to prevent further hostilities, underscoring the importance of returning to the peace process,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

The discussion was believed to be the first in-person meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayaramov since the start of hostilities a week ago that has resulted in the deaths of almost 300 soldiers on both sides.

Armenian officials are demanding the withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from the territory seized during the most recent round of fighting and other conflicts last year.

Meanwhile, officials in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku blamed the intense fighting on cross-border “provocations” from Armenia.

Baku and Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, have been fighting over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh for several years. About 30,000 people are believed to have been killed in the mostly Armenian-populated region during a war in the early 1990s. A six-week war in 2020 resulted in Armenia losing control over parts of Nagorno-Karabakh. 

“We are encouraged by the fact that the righting has ceased and there has not been” a resumption of shelling, said Mr. Blinken.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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