In snub to the Kremlin, US hosts Armenia-Azerbaijan peave talks

BAKU/YEREVAN/Nov. 7 (The Bulletin) –Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, hosted the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Washington for talks in a snub to the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, had hosted talks between the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders only a week earlier but officials from both sides have since made it clear that they are now looking to the West to arbitrate a peace deal.

“What we are seeing now are real steps and courageous steps by both countries to put the past behind and to work toward a durable peace,” Mr Blinken said after the talks.

Despite long-running parallel talks involving the UN, the Kremlin has traditionally been seen as the power broker in the South Caucasus. It organised a peace deal after a war in 2020 over Nagorno-Karabakh that killed roughly 5,000 soldiers.

But the Kremlin’s influence has ebbed away since it invaded Ukraine in February and despite stationing around 2,000 soldiers on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border, it was unable to stop an outbreak of fighting in September.

Mr Putin intends to fly to Yerevan on Nov. 22 for more talks with Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan.
Armenia had been an important Russian ally in the region, Azerbaijan now looks more towards Turkey, but has become frustrated with Russia. In September, Nancy Pelosi. the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Yerevan — becoming the most senior US official to visit the country.

The EU has also started playing a more high-profile role in mediating peace and its monitors now patrol the shared border.

There have been reports suggesting that Azerbaijan and Armenia will sign a peace deal in Tbilisi later this year.


>> First published in issue 528 of The Bulletin. All coprights reserved.

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