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State Department: Positive Developments Made Toward Nagorno Karabakh Peace

During a U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing on May 17, Spokesperson John Kirby commented on the recent talks earlier this week in Vienna with Armenia and Azerbaijan on a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

QUESTION: Thank you. I would like to get back to yesterday’s meeting in Vienna, where the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country high-ranking representative, including Secretary of State John Kerry, met the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

MR KIRBY: Right.

QUESTION: John, according to your information, was there any progress made over there regarding the initiative that actually comes from the United States to install –

MR KIRBY: Well, I mean, look –

QUESTION: – special equipment and to investigate the violations that may occur in Karabakh?

MR KIRBY: So a couple of things here. I mean, I’ll give you a little bit of thoughts here, but I encourage you to go on our website and look at the joint statement that everybody issued at the end. I mean, that makes it very clear what was discussed and the constructive attitude and demeanor of all the participants in this meeting. Both presidents committed themselves to respect the ceasefire, to put in place important confidence-building measures, and to begin negotiations next month that can lead to a comprehensive settlement. They demonstrated what we believe to be political will to move beyond the status quo and to take steps that can benefit all the people in the region. And so as the Secretary made clear, the United States, for our part, will stand ready to assist them in that regard whatever they – in whatever way they can.

So look, it was a positive meeting and a step in the right direction. And now everybody has to do the hard work of implementing the things that they committed to.

QUESTION: John, according to various sources – and I have Stratfor’s article in front of me – Armenia and Karabakh have been open to the idea of installing these gun detectors. Russia too has been receptive. Azerbaijan, though, has flatly rejected it, end of quote. Would you elaborate on this?

MR KIRBY: I haven’t seen that article so I’m not going to respond to everything you’re seeing there. I simply would point you back to the joint statement that was issued yesterday in which both presidents acknowledged a commitment to the ceasefire and to moving the process forward and to starting to have more discussions next month, which we think is a positive development.

QUESTION: According to best of your information, has Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh agreed to this initiative prior to Vienna meeting?

MR KIRBY: I can – sir, I can only point you back to what was discussed yesterday and the commitment that both presidents made. And I think that really speaks for itself.

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