Armenia, Azerbaijan say no agreement yet on talks in Washington

Official Baku and Yerevan denied on Thursday, December 14 an Armenian official’s claim that Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has agreed to meet with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan in Washington next month.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had been scheduled to host the talks on November 20. However, Baku cancelled them in protest against what it called pro-Armenian statements made by James O’Brien, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia.

O’Brien met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Bayramov in Baku last week. He said he told them that Blinken “looks forward to hosting foreign ministers Bayramov and Mirzoyan in Washington soon.”

“Azerbaijan has accepted the U.S. offer to hold a meeting of the foreign ministers there in January,” Edmon Marukian, an Armenian ambassador-at-large, told state television late on Wednesday. He said he hopes that Mirzoyan and Bayramov will finalize an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry effectively refuted Marukian’s announcement. “If there is an agreement to meet, we make it public,” a ministry spokeswoman told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Baku insisted, meanwhile, that the two sides have still not agreed on a date and venue of the next meeting between their foreign ministers.

Speaking at a daily news briefing on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, declined to clarify when the ministers might meet with Blinken in Washington.

“Stay tuned,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to make an announcement on that from here today.”

Miller also said: “We will continue to work with Armenia and Azerbaijan to move the process forward. We continue to believe that peace is possible if both parties are willing to pursue it.”

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