US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken pledged US support for the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process in separate talks with the leaders of the two countries, while calling for the reopening of a vital route to the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The two Caucasus countries have been embroiled in two wars over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region inhabited mainly by Armenians that broke away from Azerbaijan three decades ago.

During a telephone conversation yesterday Sunday with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Mr. Blinken expressed “the deep concern of the US about the establishment of a checkpoint by Azerbaijan in the Lachin Corridor, which may undermine efforts to build confidence in the peace process,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a press release.

Azerbaijan last weekend installed an entry control post on the only road connecting Armenia with the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

Armenia denounced the installation of this checkpoint, a move it saw as a violation of the ceasefire agreement with Azerbaijan.

Mr Blinken “underscored the importance of reopening Lachine Road to private and public vehicles as soon as possible”, according to the statement.

He also promised Mr. Aliyev American support in the peace process and expressed the opinion that “peace is possible.”

The day before, Mr. Blinken spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, according to a separate press release issued by Mr. Miller last Saturday.

The US Secretary of State referred to the “importance of the peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan”, insisting that “direct dialogue and diplomacy is the only way to achieve lasting peace” in the Caucasus, according to the laconic text.

As Russia seems absorbed in the war it launched in Ukraine 14 months ago and isolated on the international stage, the US and the European Union are now playing the role of mediators in the normalization process between Baku and Yerevan.