YEREVAN — A fresh meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, postponed by Baku earlier this month, will take place in Washington next week, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov were originally scheduled to meet there on June 12. According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the talks were cancelled “at the request of the Azerbaijani side.” The U.S. State Department insisted last week that the delay was “100 percent due to scheduling issues.”
Principal Deputy Spokesman for the US Department of State Vedant Patel said at a briefing with journalists late on Wednesday that the US was looking forward to hosting another round of talks in Washington soon.
“We continue to believe direct dialogue is key to resolving issues and reaching a durable and dignified peace. We continue to believe that steps that are going to incite tensions and elevate tensions are certainly unproductive right now as talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan are proceeding in different venues,” he said.
Mirzoyan and Bayramov reported major progress towards an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty after holding four-day talks outside Washington last month. Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met together with European Union chief Charles Michel later in May. They held two more meetings in the following weeks and are due to meet again in July.
Tensions along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and “the line of contact” around Karabakh have steadily increased over the last few weeks, with the sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire on a virtually daily basis.