SECRETARY BLINKEN: Welcome the foreign ministers from Armenia and Azerbaijan – Foreign Minister Mirzoyan, Foreign Minister Bayramov – here to Blair House, to Washington, to pursue what have been, I think, very productive discussions that we initiated in New York at the UN General Assembly and then in subsequent conversations between our teams. The United States is committed to the peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Direct dialogue is the best way to a truly durable peace, and we are very pleased to support that.
The United States strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial independence[i] of both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the 1991 restoration of independence was a vitally important moment in guaranteeing the rights of both countries, rights that we strongly support.
I think it’s also fair to say that 30-plus years of conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh have had tremendous human, material costs – lives lost, scars that are deep. But what we are seeing now are real steps, and courageous steps, by both countries to put the past behind and to work toward a durable peace. Both countries are working to that end and to, ultimately, a brighter future for the South Caucasus – a future of peace, countries at peace, countries working together for a better future.
And I’d simply say that the United States, as a friend to both Armenia and Azerbaijan, is committed to doing everything that we can to support you in this effort; to walk the path to a durable peace with you, to help in any way that we can. This is, I think, the promise of a better, brighter future. And I applaud both of you and your governments for the courage and determination that you’re showing to get to that destination.
So, thank you both for being here, thanks to your teams, and I look forward to our conversation. Thank you.