ArmInfo.The U.S. Department of State has commented on the results of the Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs' meeting in Washington.
In response to a question about the "shortness of the statement" on the results of the meeting, Ned Price, Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, said:
"Now, we don't try to make too much of joint statements, but a joint statement in the context of these two countries is something to take note of. It's a very positive sign that these two countries could agree to not only issue a joint statement but to agree on the substance behind it.
"In the meeting, the foreign ministers agreed to expediate their negotiations and to organize another meeting in the coming weeks. They expressed their appreciation to Secretary Blinken, to the U.S. side for organizing the discussions yesterday. I should note that Secretary Blinken was involved in the discussions yesterday, but there were opportunities throughout the course of the day for the two sides to meet and to attempt to bridge their differences, in some cases without the United States as an active participant. We remain committed to promoting a peaceful future for the South Caucasus region. We believe that continued direct dialogue is key to resolving issues and to reaching a lasting peace.
"I think going back to your original question, our role in this has been one of facilitator. We provided, over the course of the day yesterday, a space - Blair House, in this case - for the two countries to come together, just as we did in New York a few weeks ago in late September. But this is not an agreement that the United States is attempting to or seeking to - or even can - impose on the two sides. What we are doing is trying to create a space and an opportunity for the two sides to come together, to identify their differences - of which there are many - and to attempt to bridge them.
"And I think there was - yesterday was positive in that the two sides met, they surfaced many of their areas of disagreement. At the end of the day, they were able to agree on a joint statement. They were able to agree to continue meeting and engaging in direct dialogue and diplomacy in the weeks that follow. That, to us, is quite important.
"We are doing everything we can to help enable the diplomacy that they themselves will need to undertake - and this is not unlike our approach to a number of challenges around the world, where we've demonstrated the viability and the effectiveness of this model. The historic agreement that was reached between Israel and Lebanon just a couple of weeks ago - the United States played the role of facilitator, played the role of mediator, but of course we weren't dictating the terms.
"But it is incumbent on the United States to use the leverage and the authority, the good offices that we have, the expertise and experience that we have in this building and throughout this government to try and help these processes along."
As to the "the real steps," mentioned by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mr Blinken said:
"Well, the fact that the two parties have continued to engage, that itself is a real step. That is actually a step that we hope in the coming weeks will continue to allow the parties to build on the momentum that they have been able to sustain since the outbreak of hostilities. There have, of course, been setbacks. But we believe that if they continue down the path of dialogue and diplomacy, they'll be able to build on that momentum, they'll be able to build confidence between them, trust between them, and we will do everything we can to support those processes so that they're able to reach that comprehensive and lasting peace."
As to whether the sides are in fact ready to sign the peace contract by the end of the year, Mr Price said.
"We will leave that to the parties. This is a decision that they are going to have to make. I think as you read from their joint statement, the ministers used the opportunity yesterday to share views on elements of a possible peace treaty, and they acknowledge that there are a range of issues that needed to be addressed. But they agreed to expedite their negotiations and organize another meeting in the coming weeks. We will do everything we can to see to it that they are able to make progress towards that comprehensive and lasting peace as quickly as possible, ultimately leading to a comprehensive and lasting peace."
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