U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called for "an ultimate resolution" of the decades-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Kerry made the appeal during talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on March 31 in Washington. The Azerbaijani leader is in the U.S. capital for a nuclear security summit.
Aliyev thanked the United States for trying to end the conflict but said it could only be resolved through a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for the "immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops" from Azerbaijan.
The conflict broke out in the dying years of the Soviet Union but efforts to reach a permanent settlement have failed despite mediation led by France, Russia, and the United States.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies inside Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians.
Kerry also highlighted Azerbaijan's role in European energy security as a leader in developing the Southern Gas Corridor to bring gas from the Caspian region to Europe.
Kerry also thanked Aliyev for Azerbaijan’s contributions to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan.
The two also discussed democracy and human rights issues and Kerry welcomed Azerbaijan's recent positive steps and urged further progress.