22 Mar 2023 14:22

Aliyev, Blinken discuss normalization of Azerbaijani-Armenian relations

BAKU. March 22 (Interfax) - A phone conversation with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev took place at the initiative of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Azerbaijani leader's press service said.

During the conversation, Aliyev said Azerbaijan is fully committed to the peaceful agenda and is ready to normalize relations with Armenia and sign a peace treaty in the near future. He said he had presented to the Armenian side the text of a peace treaty with recent proposals and amendments.

The phone conversation addressed the situation on the Lachin-Khankendi road.

Russian peacekeepers and the International Committee of the Red Cross have ensured the passage of over 4,700 cars, people in need of medical assistance and people accompanying them since December 12, 2022, Aliyev said.

"Therefore, the information on the presumed blockade of this road is false propaganda of Armenia," he said.

Aliyev said he is seriously concerned by Armenia's use of an additional road for, as he said, illegal transportation, personnel rotation on Azerbaijani territories, where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily deployed, and also the fact that, in his words, some 10,000 Armenian troops are still on the territory of Azerbaijan.

In this regard, Aliyev especially emphasized the need to create a border checkpoint on the last point of the Lachin road of Azerbaijan on the Armenian border.

Aliyev also said the Armenian side in the past few weeks pursued policies aimed at deliberate escalation of the situation, abusing the deployment of the EU mission in Armenia. There have been situations of intensive ceasefire breaches by Armenian troops, he said.

According to the press service, Aliyev said two Azerbaijani troops had been killed as a result of provocations by illegal Armenian military formations on March 5 and an Azerbaijani border guard had been wounded in a provocation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border on the territory of the Zangilan district on March 20.

Blinken, for his part, emphasized again that the United States will continue working on normalizing the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and signing a peace treaty, the Azerbaijani leader's press service said.

Aliyev also said Azerbaijan is ready for contacts with Armenian residents of Karabakh, which is why they have been invited to Baku by the Azerbaijani presidential administration to continue contacts on reintegration and to discuss infrastructure projects.