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Blinken warns Azerbaijan over Armenia tensions

Blinken warns Azerbaijan over Armenia tensions
Source: Video Screenshot

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Wednesday on Azerbaijan’s leader to ease tensions that have flared again with Armenia, ahead of a US-EU bid to support Yerevan economically.

In a phone call with President Ilham Aliyev ahead of the Armenia talks in Brussels, Blinken backed ongoing peace talks between the Caucasus adversaries which he said could bring “economic benefits to the entire region.”

Blinken “underscored that there is no justification for increased tension on the border and cautioned that aggressive actions and rhetoric from any side would undermine prospects for peace,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

The top US diplomat also pressed Aliyev to respect human rights at home and discussed climate change, Miller said. Azerbaijan, despite being a major fossil fuel extractor, is the host of this year’s UN climate summit.

Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday traded accusations of opening fire across their border, renewing fears of conflict.

Azerbaijan last year seized the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Armenian separatists in a lightning military offensive.

But since then, Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have voiced hope for a comprehensive peace agreement.

Pashinyan will meet jointly in Brussels on Friday with Blinken and European Union leaders, with the West looking to solidify ties and economic support with Armenia as it seeks to shift from reliance on Russia

Armenia has a longstanding alliance with Moscow and was infuriated when Russia — consumed by the Ukraine war and annoyed by Pashinyan’s overtures to the West — failed to stop Azerbaijan’s military victory last year.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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