WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on April 3 about the importance of advancing the peace process between Baku and Armenia, a State Department spokesman said. Blinken told Aliyev that there was no justification for increased tension on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border and cautioned that aggressive actions and rhetoric from any side would undermine prospects for peace, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“The Secretary underscored that there is no justification for increased tension on the [Armenian-Azerbaijani] border and cautioned that aggressive actions and rhetoric from any side would undermine prospects for peace,” State Department spokesman Matthew  Miller said in a statement.

Citing Aliyev’s office, Azerbaijani news agencies reported that Blinken sought to dispel Azerbaijani concerns about the trilateral meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan slated for Friday. They said he assured Aliyev that the talks are “not directed against Azerbaijan” and will focus on Armenia’s domestic agenda.

Blinken and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will meet with Pashinian in Brussels amid Armenia’s deepening rift with Russia, its longtime ally. Moscow has also expressed serious concern about the talks.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry last week accused the West of siding with Yerevan in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and encouraging it to take “destabilizing actions.”

Aliyev was reported to say during Wednesday’s call that “according to his information,” Blinken and von der Leyen are planning to discuss with Pashinyan Western military assistance to Armenia.

 

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