“In the next few days I will leave for Washington where I will meet with Secretary of State Blinken and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister [Jeyhun] Bayramov,” Mirzoyan told lawmakers in Yerevan.
He gave no details of the upcoming talks.
Blinken already held trilateral talks with Bayramov and Mirzoyan in New York on September 19 in the wake of large-scale fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border which killed at least 280 soldiers. The Armenian and Azerbaijani ministers met again in Geneva on October 2 and in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on October 14.
Mirzoyan announced their upcoming fresh talks three days after the leaders of the two South Caucasus countries met together with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. The summit underscored Russia’s efforts to wrest back the initiative in the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiating process largely mediated by Western powers in recent months.
Putin claimed ahead of the Sochi summit that the United States is pushing for a peace deal which would commit Armenia to recognizing Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. The U.S. State Department responded by accusing him of spreading “disinformation.” But it did not say whether Washington has indeed drafted any peace agreements.
Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, said on October 12 that Yerevan and Baku are planning to sign a peace treaty before the end of this year. Grigorian and a senior Azerbaijani official met Washington in late September for talks hosted by U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian acknowledged on October 29 that Russia and the West have proposed different peace formulas to the conflicting parties. He insisted on Wednesday that he supports the Russian plan and, in particular, the idea of indefinitely delaying an agreement on Karabakh’s status.
In a joint statement with Putin issued in Sochi, Pashinian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev pledged to “actively” work on the bilateral peace treaty. But it remained unclear whether they are aiming for a deal brokered by Moscow or Washington.
Mirzoyan said on Thursday that Armenia is willing to negotiate “on various platforms” amid “growing international attention” to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. He complained that Baku is sticking to “maximalist positions” on key issues.
“My impression is that Azerbaijan thinks it has had military successes and can now dictate terms to Armenia,” he said. “This definitely cannot be the case.”
Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, said earlier this week that Washington remains “committed to Armenian-Azerbaijan peace and negotiations between the two countries.”
“So we’ll continue to engage over the next months to facilitate discussions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, bilaterally, with partners, and through multilateral organizations as well,” Price told reporters.