Iran calls on Armenia, Azerbaijan to resolve dispute peacefully amid border tensions

May 15, 2021 - 19:33

TEHRAN – The Islamic Republic of Iran has reacted to the issues that have arisen along the borders between Armenia and the Azerbaijan Republic, urging the two neighboring countries to resolve their border dispute through peaceful ways. 

Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, issued a statement on Friday saying that Iran was closely following developments at the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is closely and sensitively following the developments of the past few days along the borders of the two neighboring countries, Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan,” Khatibzadeh said on Friday.

“Iran hopes that the dispute would be settled as soon as possible with the two sides' prudence and through peaceful ways,” the spokesman noted.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran underlines the necessity of maintaining stability and calm in the region, and calls on both sides to show restraint, avoid fueling the disagreements, and respect the two countries' borders,” he added.

He also expressed Iran's preparedness to contribute to the peaceful settlement of the two countries' differences, including the recent dispute.

The statement came after Armenia accused Azerbaijan of incursion into Armenian territories.

On Friday night, Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian held telephone conversations with a number of his counterparts to inform them of the situation at the border with Azerbaijan.

“Had phone conversations with colleagues presenting the situation resulted from the incursion of Azerbaijani armed forces in Armenia's state border. This encroachment attempt on the sovereign territory of Armenia, violating international law, is unacceptable,” he said on Twitter. 

On Wednesday, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of advancing into its Southern territory. On the same day, Armenia’s Security Council held a meeting in which Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan briefed the military leaders of the tensions between Baku and Yerevan.

“Today’s Security Council sitting is dedicated to the events taking place at the border section close to Sev Lich in Syunik Marz and the surrounding area. Earlier today Azerbaijan’s armed forces crossed the state border of the Republic of Armenia and advanced as far as 3.5 kilometers in that section. In fact, they are trying to surround and siege the Lake,” the prime minister said at the meeting. 

He added, “Of course, this is unacceptable to the Armenian side, because it represents an encroachment on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia. It still remains to be seen why such an action was possible, but it should be noted that this is an act of subversive infiltration. It should also be stated that our armed forces responded early this morning with appropriate tactical maneuvers and other necessary measures.”

Pashinyan said Armenia “cannot in any way tolerate and come to terms with the situation at hand.”

On the other hand, the Republic of Azerbaijan has confirmed that it deployed troops to areas bordering Armenia but said this deployment occurred inside Azerbaijani territories. 

“According to the trilateral statement signed on November 10, 2020, with the improvement of weather conditions in the settlements of the liberated Lachin and Kalbajar regions bordering with Armenia, which have a difficult mountainous terrain and climatic conditions, the Azerbaijani border forces are deployed in the positions of our country. This process is carried out in the usual mode and in a systematic manner,” Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 

The statement added, “Measures to strengthen the border protection system implemented within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan are carried out on the basis of maps available to each of the sides that define the border line between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since regaining its independence, there has been no state border between the two countries for obvious reasons, and for this reason we speak about the complicated technical process, which is currently accompanied by disagreements between the sides.” 

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry accused “official circles” in Armenia of using border tensions for pre-election purposes. 

“We recommend that the political and military circles of Armenia not be alarmed, accept the reality of the interstate border regime along the Zangilan, Gubadli, Lachin and Kalbajar regions of Azerbaijan and not unreasonably aggravate the situation in the region. Such cases can and should be resolved through mutual contacts between the military on both sides,” the Azerbaijani statement said. 

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the Azerbaijani military was “forced” to retreat from some areas but it is yet to completely withdraw.

“Despite the fact that as a result of the actions taken by Armenian military units the Azeri troops were forced to pull back from some areas, a part of them are still located in territory of the Republic of Armenia,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by Armen Press. “The Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia attach importance to the need of resolving the situation peacefully, but at the same time announce that infringements against the sovereign territories of Armenia are totally unacceptable and the Azerbaijani side must pull back to its original positions without pre-conditions.”

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