U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian have discussed international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in a phone call that marked their first-ever conversation.
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Tillerson and Nalbandian touched upon “numerous issues” of mutual interest, including U.S.-Armenian relations and the Karabakh conflict, late on Friday.
A ministry statement said Nalbandian briefed Tillerson on recent developments in the conflict zone and the two men “exchanged views on steps aimed at advancing” the peace process. They agreed on the need for a full implementation of confidence-building agreements that were reached by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents last year, it said.
“Secretary of State Tillerson assured that the United States will continue its active support to the peaceful settlement,” added the statement.
Tillerson pledged to “work with the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan to find a peaceful, long-term solution” during U.S. Senate hearings on his candidacy for America’s top diplomatic post in January. “The first step in this process must be to build trust by ensuring that all agreements between the parties are respected,” he said at the time.
The United States co-heads the OSCE’s Minsk Group on Karabakh together with Russia and France. The current, acting U.S. co-chair of the group, Richard Hoagland, took over in late December. It is not yet clear whether he will carry on with that role or be replaced by another U.S. diplomat.