US urges dialogue over renewed Nagorno-Karabakh tensions

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Friday to call for dialogue over the conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Blinken, who is on a trip to Asia, spoke by telephone to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

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“Secretary Blinken assured Prime Minister Pashinyan that the United States is watching the situation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh closely,” Price said.

In his conversations with the two leaders, Blinken “urged direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve issues related to, or resulting from, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said.

The former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars -- in the 1990s and in 2020 -- over Nagorno-Karabakh.

In the aftermath of the latest war, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Russia deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers to oversee a fragile truce.

Renewed fighting this week has left three people dead, with both sides accusing the other of violating the ceasefire.

On Wednesday, Baku said it had lost a soldier and the Karabakh army said two of its troops had been killed.

Read more: Armenia to withdraw all troops from Nagorno-Karabakh by September

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