SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon, everyone. I want to start by thanking our colleagues, both foreign ministers, their delegations for traveling here and for spending the time here in – at the Foreign Service Institute, and especially for their commitment to dialogue, and I think a recognition on the part of both Armenia and Azerbaijan that the only path to a lasting, durable peace is through dialogue. The United States is very happy to continue to offer its support, its engagement, its good offices to host this discussion and any future ones toward an enduring peace. That is the objective.
The two sides have discussed some very tough issues over the last few days and they’ve made tangible progress on a durable peace agreement. I hope that they see – and I believe that they do, as I do – that there is an agreement within sight, within reach. And achieving that agreement would be, I think, not only historic, but would be profoundly in the interests of the people of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and would have very positive effects even beyond their two countries.
I think the pace of the negotiations and the foundation that our colleagues have built shows that we really are within reach of an agreement. The last mile of any marathon is always the hardest; we know that. But the United States is here to continue to help both of our friends cross the finish line. And as I say, I think we’re very much within reach of that.
I have to say, finally, that the leadership that we’re seeing from both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and from my friends the foreign ministers, is inspiring. None of this is easy, but the commitment, the determination to move forward, to deal with the remaining challenging issues is real. And we feel, coming out of these few days, that, as I said, we’ve made very tangible progress. A final agreement is within reach, and we’re determined to continue to help our friends achieve it.
So with thanks to both of you, to both of your delegations, as well as to Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Aliyev for sending you here. I thank everyone, and we look forward to continuing.