“I urged continued restraint and direct dialogue with Azerbaijan to resolve these issues,” Blinken tweeted after his phone call with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
In a separate tweet, he said he assured Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that the United States is ready to facilitate such dialogue.
According to the U.S. State Department spokesman, Ned Price, Blinken also “called for de-escalation” during his conversation with Aliyev. He told Pashinian that Washington is “watching the situation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh closely,” said Price.
Pashinian was cited by his office as accusing Azerbaijan of “deviating” from key terms of the Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped the 2020 war in Karabakh.
“Secretary of State Blinken expressed concern about the tension and willingness to assist in stabilizing the situation,” added the office.
The State Department urged “immediate steps to reduce tensions and avoid further escalation” on Wednesday hours after two Karabakh Armenian soldiers were killed and 19 others wounded in fighting with Azerbaijani forces.
“The recent increase in tensions underscores the need for a negotiated, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement of all remaining issues related to or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” said Price.
Blinken already held phone calls with Pashinian and Aliyev on July 25. He said afterwards that he sees a “historic opportunity to achieve peace in the region.”
European Council President Charles Michel also spoke with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders by phone. Michel indicated on Friday night that he is poised to host fresh negotiations between them in Brussels.
“Ahead of our next leaders meeting in Brussels, pursuing dialogue and achieving concrete progress on all items on the agenda is key,” he wrote on Twitter.