Zarif urges Azeri-Armenian talks amid clashes

September 28, 2020 - 15:51

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged Azerbaijan and Armenia to exercise restraint, after a fresh round of clashes between the two neighboring countries.

In separate phone conversations with his Azeri and Armenian counterparts on Sunday, Zarif invited the two sides to agree on a ceasefire and launch negotiations.

During the phone conversations, Zarif was informed about the latest conditions and on-the-field situation in the disputed region, the Foreign Ministry website reported.

He expressed concern about the flare-up of tensions and called on the warring sides to stop violence and begin negotiations within the framework of international law and regulations.

The foreign minister also notified the two neighboring countries that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to employ all of its capacities for the establishment of ceasefire, the start of dialogue, and restoration of peace and calm.

Violent clashes erupted on Sunday morning between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the volatile Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by Armenian forces. 

The two countries accused each other of starting the clashes as their militaries exchanged fire along their borders in the disputed region. They both declared martial law and general mobilizations in efforts to prepare their people for war.

Armenia accused Azerbaijan of shelling Karabakh and Baku accused Armenian-backed rebels of attacking Azeri military and civilian positions.

Ethnic Azeris fled Karabakh in 1992 when Armenian separatists seized it in a move supported by Yerevan after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The two neighbors frequently accuse each other of attacks around Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier.

Border clashes in July claimed the lives of 17 soldiers from both sides. In April 2016, some 110 people were killed in the deadliest fighting in years.

In a tweet on Sunday evening, Zarif wrote that Iran is closely monitoring the alarming violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, calling for an immediate end to hostilities and urging dialogue to resolve disputes.

“Our neighbors are our priority and we are ready to provide good offices to enable talks,” Zarif said. “Our region needs peace now.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also offered help to put an end to the clashes, saying Iran is ready to employ all of its capacities to help achieve a ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia and facilitate talks between the two warring sides.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is closely and worriedly monitoring the military clashes between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement on Sunday.

“Iran calls on the two sides to exercise self-restraint, and demands an immediate end to the clashes and the launch of dialogue between the two states,” Khatibzadeh added.

MH/PA

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