(Washington) A peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorny Karabakh is “in sight”, US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said Thursday, hailing “tangible progress” in the discussions in Washington.

“Both sides have addressed very difficult issues over the past few days and they have made tangible progress towards a lasting peace agreement,” he said at the end of four days of talks.

“I hope they feel, and I believe they do, that a deal is in sight, within reach,” he added, noting that “the pace of negotiations and the foundations laid” suggested to conclude a peace agreement later.

“The last mile of a marathon is always the hardest. We all know that,” he said, pledging continued US support to “cross the finish line.”

Mr. Blinken, who sponsored the talks that began on Monday, were speaking during a “closing session” of the negotiations in the presence of the heads of diplomacy of the two countries, the Armenian Ararat Mirzoyan and the Azerbaijani Djeyhoun Bairamov.

They took place behind closed doors in a conference center in the name of former Secretary of State George Shultz, near the federal capital.

The two Caucasian countries clashed in two wars in the early 1990s and in 2020 for control of Nagorny Karabakh, a mountainous region mostly populated by Armenians that seceded from Azerbaijan three decades ago.