US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement that Blinken, in his call with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Sunday, expressed “the United States’ deep concern that Azerbaijan’s establishment of a checkpoint on the Lachin Corridor would undermine confidence-building efforts in the peace process.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken pledged his country’s continued support for the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan during separate talks he held over the weekend with the leaders of the two countries, as he called for the opening of a corridor leading to disputed lands.
Armenia and Azerbaijan, the two former Soviet republics in the Caucasus, entered two wars, the first in the early 1990s and the second in 2020, with the aim of controlling the disputed mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement that Blinken, in his call with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Sunday, “expressed the United States’ deep concern that Azerbaijan’s establishment of a checkpoint on the Lachin Corridor would undermine efforts to build confidence in the peace process.”
The Lachin corridor is the only land link between Armenia and the Nagorno region, and Azerbaijan established the checkpoint at the end of last week, in a move that Armenia considered a violation of the recent ceasefire declared between the two sides.
The statement added that Blinken “stressed the importance of reopening the Lachin Pass to commercial and private vehicles as soon as possible.” Miller added that Blinken conveyed to Aliyev Washington’s support for the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and “shared his conviction that peace is possible.”
Miller said in a separate statement Saturday that the previous day Blinken had also held a conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The US Secretary of State also spoke of “the importance of the peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan” and pledged that the United States would “continue to support” them, according to Miller. Blinken emphasized that direct dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to a lasting solution.
Moscow brokered a ceasefire between Yerevan and Baku after the last round of fighting between them in 2020, and deployed peacekeeping forces along the Lachin Corridor.
With Russia preoccupied with the war in Ukraine and unwilling to strain its relations with Turkey, Azerbaijan’s main ally, the United States and the European Union are seeking to warm relations between the two archenemies.