State Department officials having bilateral meetings with Armenians and Azerbaijanis

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu went about an hour, the two of them of course discussed Afghanistan at length.  They also talked about Syria, and they had a relatively long conversation about the Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, a senior State Department official said at a briefing.

The official reminded that in the wake of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war, the US tried to be helpful in supporting a peace and reconciliation conversation between the two and played a role in a swap some demining maps that the Armenians turned over to the for the release of some detainees.

“So the question now becomes whether, with U.S. support, with other Minsk Group countries’ support, with Turkey’s support, we can do more to facilitate a de-escalation of tensions between the two, both along the border, with regard to remaining detainees, with regard to remaining mines, and help them take some small steps which might lay the path towards a larger peace and reconciliation process,” the official said.

“So the Secretary made clear to Turkey, which has been very much involved in this and is a neighbor, that we are prepared to be helpful if we can be.  We are also at a level below the Secretary having bilateral meetings with the Armenians and the Azerbaijanis this week and making the same offer there,” he added.

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