Blinken phoned Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev four days after their latest talks held in Prague in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron and European Union chief Charles Michel.
“Secretary Blinken expressed appreciation for the positive steps Azerbaijan and Armenia are taking towards reaching a sustainable peace agreement, including recent direct talks between the foreign ministers and leaders,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on his call with Aliyev.
“He underscored the importance of discussions about the rights and securities for the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh and need for both sides to maintain the cease-fire and focus on a negotiated agreement as the only path to a lasting peace,” added Price.
According to the Armenian government, Blinken and Pashinian discussed the results of the Prague summit and agreed on the importance of negotiating an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty based on recognition of each other’s territorial integrity.
Aliyev said in the Czech capital that the conflicting sides are inching closer to such a treaty. It could be signed before the end of this year, he said.
The United States has been at the forefront of international efforts to ease tensions and facilitate a peaceful settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the September 13-14 fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that killed at least 280 soldiers from both sides.
Blinken held a trilateral meeting with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in New York on September 19. He also spoke to them by phone in a trilateral format on ahead of the Prague summit. He was reported to hail “positive steps” taken by the two sides.