U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan Monday in effort to foster peace between the two ex-Soviet countries after a new round of border clashes has killed more than 200 people.
Blinken brought Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov together at a New York hotel on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly. It was their first face-to-face meeting since the fighting broke out last week.
Blinken, who has spoken several times to the leaders of both countries, said the U.S. was encouraged by a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan after two days of shelling.
"Strong, sustainable diplomatic engagement is the best path for everyone," he said. "There is a path to a durable peace that resolves the differences."
Speaking ahead of Monday's meeting, Bayramov said his country is "satisfied with the level of relations" with the U.S. and said his direct talks with Mirzoyan were not unusual.
The conflict centers around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is ethnically Armenian but legally belongs to Azerbaijan, a situation that has resulted in decades of violence.
The meeting came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia as "illegal" during a Sunday press conference alongside Armenian officials. The Azeri government, in turn, dismissed Pelosi’s comments as "Armenian propaganda."
The latest round of fighting is the worst since 2020, when, during a six-week war, Azerbaijan reclaimed broad swaths of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories held by Armenian forces. More than 6,700 people died in that fighting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.