Top diplomats of Caucasian neighbours "agreed to expedite their negotiations," says US State Department, in bid to resolve their decades-long dispute over Karabakh region.

Top diplomats of US, Azerbaijan, and Armenia hold talks at Blair House in Washington.
Top diplomats of US, Azerbaijan, and Armenia hold talks at Blair House in Washington. (AP)

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed at talks in Washington to expedite negotiations between the South Caucasus neighbours that have clashed repeatedly over control of the Karabakh region, the US State Department said.

"The foreign ministers agreed to expedite their negotiations," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said of Monday's talks between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov. 

"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, engaging in direct dialogue and diplomacy in the weeks that follow," Price said on Tuesday.

On Monday, Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry accused Armenian forces of shooting at the positions of Azerbaijani troops stationed at several locations on the frontier.

Meanwhile, Yerevan's Defence Ministry accused Azerbaijani forces of opening fire on Armenian positions in a statement, adding there had been no casualties.

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Tense ties since 1991

Also on Monday, Russian Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to refrain from steps toward escalating tensions.

A week earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan "agreed not to use force" to resolve their dispute over the Karabakh territory, during a summit in Russia hosted by President Vladimir Putin.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.

In the fall of 2020, in 44 days of clashes, Baku liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation, ending in a Moscow-brokered truce. 

The peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies