On Monday, the United States hosted peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan to ease tensions over the disputed enclave Nagorno Karabakh. Both sides have been at war in 1990 and 2020 resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. Azerbaijan’s announcement that it had established a checkpoint along the Lachin Corridor – the only land route between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh – violated the ceasefire agreement between the two parties, causing tensions to rise. According to an official from the US, the United States expects both sides to engage in an open, frank and honest discussion. The talks will be centered on a normalization of the relations between the two countries, rather than a peace agreement.

After the fighting in 2020, Moscow mediated a ceasefire and deployed peacekeepers on the Lachin corridor. The United States and European Union are trying to encourage a thawing of relations because Russia does not want to damage its relationship with Azerbaijan’s main ally Turkey. Catherine Colonna, France’s foreign minister, visited both countries in an attempt to calm tensions about the border checkpoint. Blinken participated in two previous trilateral meetings, one in November of last year and the other in February.

The US believes that direct dialogue is the key to solving issues and achieving a lasting peace. The talks are intended to resolve their decades-long dispute and normalize the relations between both sides. Blinken, the US Secretary of state, stressed the importance of peace talks and promised continued US support.