Zarif holds talks in Azerbaijan

January 25, 2021 - 21:48

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who arrived in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on Sunday evening in the first leg of his tour of the Caucasus and Turkey, held meetings on Monday with the leaders of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.

In his meeting with President Aliyev, the top Iranian diplomat congratulated the Republic of Azerbaijan’s people and government on the recent victories, stressing the need for the promotion of cooperation between the two neighbors, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Monday.

“He also welcomed a six-party regional cooperation initiative proposed by the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan, expressing Iran’s readiness for help and cooperation in any field contributing to regional peace, stability and calm. Zarif then pointed to the successful visits that Azerbaijan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister paid to Iran, saying the mutual cooperation, particularly in the economic fields, is ready to make a leap,” the statement said.

The Iranian foreign minister expressed delight with the results of the 14th meeting of Iran-Azerbaijan Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation, voicing Iran’s readiness for active participation in the process of reconstructing the recently-liberated Azeri lands, particularly in construction activities, for the export of technical and engineering services, and cooperation in the electricity and energy industries, agriculture, extra-territorial cultivation, mine-sweeping, as well as the reconstruction of mosques and historical sites.

Zarif’s visit to neighboring Azerbaijan comes after the South Caucasus country fought a deadly 44-day war with Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh from late September through to November 2020. The war resulted in Azerbaijan liberating its land in the region that were under Armenian occupation.

During the war, Iran refused to side with any of the warring countries, all while trying to resolve differences between Baku and Yerevan through dialogue. To this end, Iran presented a peace initiative in the midst of the war. Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran Seyed Abbas Araghchi traveled to all countries involved in the war to present the Iranian initiative.

In addition, Iran voiced support for Azerbaijan to liberate its occupied territories while underlining the need to protect the rights of minorities in the region.

“This war is a bitter incident and it threatens the security of the region. Of course, all Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia should be freed. All these lands should be given back to Azerbaijan. One of the main conditions is that these lands should be returned to Azerbaijan. The Republic of Azerbaijan is entitled to be in control of these lands, and therefore, all of them should be freed,” the Leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said in the final days of the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

Azerbaijan was quick to thank Iran for its support. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issued a statement at that time to thank the Leader for his stance on the war.

During his Monday meeting with Zarif, the Azerbaijani president once again praised Iran’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis.

“President Aliyev, for his part, praised Iran’s stances on the recent developments in the region, hailed the level of cooperation between the two nations, and said there exists a positive atmosphere for the expansion of relations in all fields, specifically the economic cooperation. Enumerating the economic projects carried out jointly by the two countries, the Azeri leader welcomed the participation of Iranian companies in reconstruction of areas in the Karabakh region,” the statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

The Azerbaijani president also expressed satisfaction with Iran’s view on the six-party regional cooperation platform, saying the initiative would benefit peace and common interests in the region. He welcomed plans for holding trilateral meetings among the Republic of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia, as well as among Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey in the future.

The Iranian foreign minister also met with his Azerbaijani counterpart on Monday. During the meeting Zarif paid homage to the victims of the war, describing the post-war stage as an important moment for peace and stability.
 
“The minister of foreign affairs of our country expressed his satisfaction with his presence in the Republic of Azerbaijan after the liberation of the occupied territories of the country and paid tribute to the victims of the war, especially civilians, and expressed his condolences to their families. He assessed the new stage as an important moment to help establish peace and stability in the region for the benefit of all parties,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in another statement.

Zarif said the goal of his visit to Azerbaijan was to contribute to advance peace and calm in the region. He expressed Iran’s readiness to “massively and actively” participate in the reconstruction efforts in the liberated territories.

Underlining that there is no limit to cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan, Zarif said all of Iran’s economic sectors stand ready to actively participate in the economic projects of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

For his part, the Azerbaijani foreign minister described the relations between the two countries as based on friendship and historical and cultural commonalities and appreciated the positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the highest and popular levels on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.  

SM/PA

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