Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will host the foreign ministers of warring Armenia and Azerbaijan on Friday as efforts to maintain a ceasefire in the region continue to falter.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan will each meet with the United States’ chief diplomat at the end of this week, the two countries announced Tuesday.
The State Department has not yet publicly commented on or confirmed the planned summit.
It is not yet clear if the two diplomats would meet face-to-face on their same-day meetings with Pompeo, or if US officials were pushing for a meeting between all three men.
US government documents obtained by Politico Monday show that Bayramov will meet with Pompeo first on Friday morning, and Mnatsakanyan’s meeting will take place shortly afterward.
Fighting has been underway for nearly a month in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region which is technically within Azerbaijan’s borders but has been under the control of Armenian-backed forces since war in the area halted in 1994.
The violence within recent weeks is the worst the region has seen since then.
In an interview with Politico, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the United States, Elin Suleymanov, did not rule out the possibility of both foreign ministers meeting during their State Department visits.
“We want a substantive conversation,” he told the outlet, adding that he hoped talks would resume soon.
Speaking to The Hill, Suleymanov confirmed that the invitation for the meeting came from Pompeo.
“The invitation came from the United States,” Suleymanov said.
Last week, the US’ top diplomat called on both nations to hold their ceasefire as promised.
“The United States calls on Azerbaijan and Armenia to implement their commitments to a ceasefire as agreed and cease targeting civilian areas, such as Ganja and Stepanakert. We deplore the loss of human life and remain committed to a peaceful settlement,” he said in a tweet.
With Post wires