Iran’s deputy FM undertakes shuttle diplomacy to end Azerbaijan-Armenia war

October 28, 2020 - 23:29

TEHRAN – Seyed Abbas Araghchi, the deputy foreign minister for political affairs, has begun a regional tour of four capitals to help end the deadly war in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Araghchi set off his tour on Tuesday morning by paying a visit to two Iranian provinces on the borders with the Republic of Azerbaijan. He left Tabriz for Baku late on Tuesday. Upon his arrival in Baku on Tuesday night, the Iranian diplomat said he was conveying an “innovative initiative” to end the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Araghchi, who was visiting Azerbaijan as the special envoy of the Iranian president, pointed out that he is visiting countries that are able to play a role in ending the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The main purpose of the visit is to present the proposed initiative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to resolve this conflict and achieve a lasting peace between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan and, consequently, the region,” said Araghchi, adding that he would discuss the initiative with the Azerbaijani officials.

The deputy foreign minister stated, “The framework of this initiative has been prepared. In this trip, the officials of the Republic of Azerbaijan will be consulted. This initiative is capable of bringing the situation to lasting peace and put an end to the existing disagreements and, of course, the occupation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.”

According to Araghchi, ending the Azerbaijani territories' occupation is an important part of the Iranian initiative.

“Minority rights and human rights are another pillars of this initiative,” pointed out the Iranian diplomat, noting that another element of the initiative is to end the conflict and start talks with the help of influential countries that help and guarantee peace.

Araghchi said he will discuss the Iranian initiative during his visit to regional countries, underlining that Iran has warm relations with Azerbaijan and has always supported it in its efforts to liberate its occupied territories.

“The territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and other countries in the region and the unchangeability of borders is an important and inviolable principle that must be maintained,” stressed the Iranian diplomat.

During his visit to Baku, Araghchi met with several high-ranking Azerbaijani officials, including Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov, and Hikmet Hajiyev, an assistant to the Azerbaijani president.

Following Araghchi’s meeting with Bayramov, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the two sides “thoroughly discussed” the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The statement said, “Minister Jeyhun Bayramov informed the Special Envoy of the President of Iran on the latest escalation in the region, military provocations by the leadership of Armenia, irresponsible statements and actions by the Armenian Prime Minister aimed at increasing tensions in the region and undermining the negotiated settlement of the conflict. Minister stressed that the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan launched counter-offensive measures within its right of self-defense and to protect the civilian population of Azerbaijan.”

Bayramov especially highlighted the gross violation of international humanitarian law by Armenia and deliberate targeting of peaceful Azerbaijani population, according to the statement.

The Azerbaijani foreign minister also reiterated the president of Azerbaijan's position that “the ultimate goal of our country is the withdrawal of foreign armed forces from the sovereign soil of Azerbaijan and to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders.”

According to the statement, Aragchi reiterated Iran's official position on the peaceful settlement of the conflict based on the norms and principles of international law and within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

After Azerbaijan, Araghchi is expected to visit Russia and Armenia as well as Turkey. Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that Araghchi would be visiting Moscow on Thursday.

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