Iran voices support for regional initiative on South Caucasus

July 2, 2021 - 19:33

TEHRAN – Iranian Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan has expressed Iran’s support for a regional initiative aiming to foster cooperation among stakeholders in the South Caucasus.

Seyed Abbas Mousavi said the countries involved in this initiative can cooperate for the good of the region.

“Iran supports initiative to establish a 3+3 format regional mechanism to bolster peace, stability & development in our region,” the Iranian ambassador said on Twitter, adding, “Three South Caucasian states (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia) + three regional neighbors (Iran, Turkey, Russia) can cooperate for the good of the region.”

The Azerbaijan-led initiative was discussed in January this year during a regional tour of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif which included visits to all the countries that are supposed to be part of the initiative. In a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Zarif welcomed the initiative.

During the meeting, Zarif welcomed the proposal of the president of Azerbaijan entitled the Initiative for Six-Party Cooperation in the Region and announced the readiness of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist and cooperate in all fields that will contribute to peace, stability and tranquility in the region.

The next stop was Moscow where the top Iranian diplomat met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at the Russian Foreign Ministry and as usual, the two foreign ministers held a press conference. Upon his arrival in Moscow, Zarif said that he would discuss proposals for six-party cooperation in the region, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.

In continuation of his tour, Zarif paid visits to Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey, where he discussed issues related to the South Caucasus region after a 44-day war between Baku and Yerevan over a Nagorno-Karabakh.

In May, Zarif once again paid visits to Azerbaijan and Armenia. The visits began amid reports of border tensions between two rivals grappling with the consequences of a deadly 44-day war that resulted in Azerbaijan retaking large swathes of Armenian-controlled territories in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The war ended after Russian President Vladimir Putin brokered a ceasefire deal between the two warring sides in November.

During his visit to Azerbaijan and Armenia, Zarif raised the issue of borders. In Baku, the top Iranian diplomat discussed with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev issues such as border tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan and communication corridors.

“Now you can play a historic role in bringing peace to the region,” Zarif told Aliyev, according to a statement issued by the Azerbaijani presidency.

In Yerevan, Zarif received the Armenian account of border tensions. Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ara Aivazian thanked Zarif for paying a visit to Armenia during “disturbing days” in the region.

Aivazian noted, “It has been two weeks since the Azerbaijani armed forces invaded the border areas of the Republic of Armenia, trying to provoke a new escalation, which is fraught with new regional threats.”

He also said that Azerbaijan strives to create “new geopolitical realities” amid global silence towards Baku.

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