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The rapprochement of the positions of Armenia and Azerbaijan is especially important for the US. State Department spokesman Ned Price noted about this at Monday’s Department press briefing—and commenting on the meeting between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, within the framework of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Price recalled that this was the first face-to-face meeting that the two foreign ministers had since the latest outbreak of violence.

“The Secretary noted to both leaders the importance of maintaining the ceasefire, of maintaining the calm, said – noted that we’re dedicated to a sustainable ceasefire and to a peaceful resolution. We made clear to both foreign ministers that the United States stands ready to support – to support this bilaterally, multilaterally, together with partners. This includes our support for efforts by EU Council President Charles Michel bring the leaders together.

They, during the course of that meeting, discussed the best path forward, and the Secretary suggested the sides share ideas for how to meaningfully advance the peace process before the end of the month.

Our message has been consistent for some time. We call on Azerbaijan to return troops to their initial positions. We urge disengagement of military forces and work to resolve all outstanding issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan through peaceful negotiations. The use of force is not an acceptable path. We’ve made that clear privately. We’ve also made that clear publicly, and we’re glad that our continued engagement, including at high levels, including last week in New York, with both countries has helped to halt the hostilities, and we’ll continue to engage and encourage the work needed to reach a lasting peace because there can be and there is no military solution to this conflict,” added the US State Department spokesman.

When asked where and when the next meeting of the FM of Armenia and Azerbaijan might take place, Price responded that this will be up to the two countries to decide.

“But we do think that continued engagement directly between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not only in their interests, it’s in the interests of the region and beyond. We have offered to be of assistance, again, bilaterally, trilaterally, multilaterally, and of course the EU is playing an important role as well,” added the US State Department spokesman.

And to the remark that experts say that the US suggests—urging or encouraging the sides meeting again suggests that US now has no plan to move the process forward, and asked whether the US does have a plan, Ned Price responded: “The United States is not and cannot be in a position to submit a plan as a fait accompli. Our task is to bring the sides together, to facilitate dialogue, to help the sides together work through differences, to work through disagreements peacefully and diplomatically. That’s what last week was about. That’s what our continued engagement is about.”

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