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Biden, Sarkisian Discuss Karabakh Peace Efforts


U.S. - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden meets with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in Washington, 31March, 2016

U.S. - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden meets with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in Washington, 31March, 2016

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden phoned President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday to discuss international efforts to de-escalate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and prepare the ground for its peaceful resolution.

According to Sarkisian’s office, the two men stressed the need for a “full and effective implementation” of corresponding agreements that were reached by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents at their latest meeting held in Vienna on Monday.

“The parties agreed that the conflict can only be resolved in a peaceful way, within the framework of mediation efforts by the [U.S., Russian and French] co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group,” the office said in a statement. It gave no other details.

The White House did not immediately issue a readout of the phone call. It was not clear whether Biden also held phone talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

The Vienna talks were co-hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French Secretary of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir. Kerry also held separate talks with Aliyev and Sarkisian just before the summit.

“Both presidents committed themselves to respect the ceasefire, to put in place important confidence-building measures, and to begin negotiations next month that can lead to a comprehensive settlement,” a U.S. State Department spokesman said on Tuesday.

Biden met with Sarkisian and Aliyev in Washington just two days before the April 2 outbreak of the heaviest fighting in the Karabakh conflict zone since 1994. The Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders were among 50 heads of state invited to a global nuclear security summit hosted by President Barack Obama.

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