“This [progress] has been the result of … trilateral engagement with the United States, the work that the EU has done in their diplomacy as well, and what we hope to see when the parties come together in Brussels in the coming days in the talks hosted by President [Charles] Michel of the EU,” the department spokesman, Ned Price, told a news briefing in Washington.
“So, we hope to see a continuation of that progress,” he said. “We are not being Pollyannaish, but we are continuing to support this dialogue, this diplomacy, towards a comprehensive solution in every way we possibly can.”
Price did not specify whether Michel will hold a trilateral meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The head of the European Union’s top decision-making body hosted a series of talks between them last year.
The Armenian government would not say on Thursday whether the two leaders are indeed scheduled to meet in Brussels. A government spokesman told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that he has “no information about the meeting at the moment.”
Aliyev and Pashinian met in Munich as recently as on Saturday for talks organized by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They reportedly concentrated on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty discussed by the two sides for the past year.
Aliyev spoke after the Munich summit of “progress” in Armenia’s position on the treaty which he hopes will help to restore full Azerbaijani control over Nagorno-Karabakh. Pashinian’s political opponents at home renewed afterwards their allegations that he has accepted Azerbaijan’s terms of the peace deal.
The Western-mediated talks come amid Russia’s continuing attempts to regain the initiative in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to visit Baku next week. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov will pay “special attention” to the implementation of Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements brokered by Moscow.
“We call on our partners in Baku and Yerevan to resume joint work on each of the areas of normalizing bilateral relations as soon as possible,” the ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Wednesday.
Zakharova implicitly criticized Yerevan for cancelling in December a planned meeting of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian foreign ministers in Moscow in protest against the Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin corridor.
Earlier this week, Moscow again accused the EU and the United States of using the Karabakh conflict to try to squeeze it out of the South Caucasus.