US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate phone calls on Monday with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to discuss efforts to reach a peace agreement between the two countries.
According to a readout of the phone call between Blinken and Aliyev, the Secretary welcomed Aliyev’s commitment to "conclude a durable and dignified peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia."
"The Secretary recognized the suffering that this long-standing conflict has caused Azerbaijanis and Armenians alike and underscored the benefits that peace would bring to everyone in the region," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.
"The Secretary discussed our enduring relations with Azerbaijan, noted recent points of concern in the relationship and also spoke about opportunities to strengthen cooperation, especially around the peace process, and the importance of high-level engagement," Miller added.
Blinken held a separate phone call with Pashinyan to discuss US support for efforts to reach a "durable and dignified" peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"The Secretary reaffirmed the United States’ ongoing support for Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and outlined efforts to increase bilateral cooperation with Armenia as we work to support its vision for a prosperous and democratic future," said Miller in a statement.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Most of the territory was liberated by Azerbaijan during a war in the fall of 2020, which ended after a Russian-brokered peace agreement and also opened the door to normalization.
Azerbaijan established full sovereignty in Karabakh after an "anti-terrorism operation" in September, after which separatist forces in the region surrendered.
In a statement on Nov. 21, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry called on Armenia to resume negotiations and "to avoid new unnecessary delays" in the peace process.
Delegations from Azerbaijan and Armenia are expected to meet on Nov. 30 to discuss border delimitation issues.