YEREVAN, March 6. /TASS/. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a phone call with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that Washington would continue its efforts to help resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Pashinyan’s office said on Friday.
The prime minister’s office said in a statement that the sides touched upon the post-war situation and emphasized the necessity to restore the peace process within the OSCE Minsk Group format.
"The Armenian Premier called his interlocutor’s attention to the need for Azerbaijan to immediately return the prisoners of war, hostages and people held in captivity. In this context, the US side highlighted the Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ activities and voiced readiness to continue its role in resolving the conflict," the statement says.
Prime Minister Pashinyan "appreciated the US Government’s continued support to Armenia and the role played by the United States within the OSCE Minsk Group."
Blinken "hailed Armenia’s achievements in the field of democracy and assured that the United States will continue to assist Armenia with the ongoing reform process," it says. "Nikol Pashinyan thanked the US side for appreciation and readiness to provide assistance in the field of reforms."
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them.
On November 9, 2020 Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting from November 10. Under the deal, Azerbaijan and Armenia maintained the positions that they had held, some of the districts were handed back to Baku, and Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the contact line and to the Lachin corridor, which links Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.
The talks seeking peace for Nagorno-Karabakh have been ongoing within the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France, since 1992.