The United States on Tuesday defended its engagements with Azerbaijan and Armenia, saying that it continued to believe that "a peace is possible here," as the State Department's Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel put it, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

"It should come to no surprise to you that this is an area of the world that the Secretary [of State] himself is personally deeply engaged on," Patel told a daily briefing when responding to TURAN's questions about Antony Blinken's latest phone calls to Baku and Yerevan.

As it was reported earlier, Blinken on Sunday spoke separately with both Azerbaijani President Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan to reaffirm U.S. support for progress between the two countries on a durable and dignified peace agreement, in which he urged the sides to keep up the momentum.

"Over the course of his time as Secretary, he has had regular engagements at regular intervals with both of these countries," Patel went on to add.  "Our engagements with both of them are ongoing, and we continue to believe that a peace is possible here.  And that’s something that we’re going to continue to work towards," he said.

During his calls with Aliyev, Blinken also urged Azerbaijan to "adhere to its international human rights obligations and commitments and release those unjustly detained in Azerbaijan," per State Department's readout of the calls.

However, just hours after the call, Azerbaijan detained Anar Mammadli, the head of the Election Monitoring Center in Azerbaijan.

When asked by TURAN on Tuesday whether Baku's action was a reflection of the current state of bilateral relationship, Patel refrained from commenting directly, saying that the U.S. was "deeply troubled" by the continuing arrests of members of Azerbaijani civil society, most recently Anar Mammadli.  

"And we urge the Azerbaijani Government to immediately release all individuals who are unjustly detained," he concluded.

Mammadli was placed in pre-trial custody Tuesday afternoon on smuggling charges he denied in the latest of a series of cases that have prompted Western concern about free speech and human rights.

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İran Prezidentinin həlak olduğu hadisə Azərbaycan- İran münasibətlərinə təsir edə bilərmi? – Nəsimi Məmmədli Çətin sualda

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