Iran FM underlines need to respect borders in Caucasus

September 1, 2021 - 18:51

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Tuesday underlined the need to preserve internationally recognized borders in the Caucasus region days after clashes erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia that led to the blocking of a strategic Armenia road used by Iranian merchants. 

The remarks were made during a phone conversation between Abdollahian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov. 

The Azerbaijani foreign minister has telephoned his Iranian counterpart to congratulate him on winning Parliament’s vote of confidence to become Iran’s new top diplomat.

Abdollahian thanked Bayramov, saying Iran is ready to expand ties with the Azerbaijan Republic in all areas including assistance with reconstruction efforts in the liberated areas [in the Karabakh region].

Amir Abdollahian also stressed the need for respecting internationally recognized borders, according to a statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry. 

He said all disputes in the Caucasus region should be resolved peacefully.

The Azeri foreign minister also called for increasing cooperation with Iran and asked for the Islamic Republic’s help with the rebuilding of the liberated areas [of Karabakh].

Bayramov also called for transit cooperation with Iran and briefed the Iranian foreign minister on the latest developments in the Karabakh region.

Abdollahian and Bayramov invited each other to visit Iran and the Azerbaijan Republic, respectively, in as short a time as possible. They expressed hope the visits will happen soon.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement. “On August 31, 2021, a telephone conversation took place between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hossein Amirabdollahian. Minister Jeyhun Bayramov congratulated his Iranian counterpart on his appointment as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran and wished him success in his activities,” the Azerbaijani statement said. 

It added, “Minister Jeyhun Bayramov stressed the existence of relations based on the principles of friendship and cooperation that have deep historical roots, broad-spectrum bilateral cooperation agenda between Azerbaijan and Iran, and noted that a number of projects have been successfully implemented by the two countries. The sides also exchanged views on the current situation in the region and some issues of bilateral cooperation.”

Bayramov also invited his Iranian counterpart to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan, according to the statement. 

In July, Iran expressed concern twice over continued border clashes between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which claimed lives on both sides and aroused concerns in neighboring countries in the South Caucasus region.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh expressed concern over the continuation of border clashes between the border guards of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Khatibzadeh expressed regret over the deaths and injuries of the two countries' nationals, and called on both parties to show self-restraint.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said at the time that three of its troops were killed and two more were wounded in clashes with Azerbaijani forces on the border between the two ex-Soviet nations, which have been locked in a decades-long tug-of-war over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, AP reported. 

Azerbaijan announced that two of its troops were wounded. The two South Caucasus nations once again blamed each other for the latest flare-up which came on the heels of another clash a week earlier. Azerbaijan said Armenian forces opened fire at its positions on the Kalbajar section of the border. The Armenian military said its personnel was attacked by the Azerbaijani forces.

Khatibzadeh underlined the necessity of the peaceful settlement of border disputes between Baku and Yerevan.

He stressed that the two countries must overcome the tensions and clashes, and respect the internationally recognized borders.

The spokesman further emphasized the necessity of establishing sustainable peace in the South Caucasus region as soon as possible, and expressed Tehran's preparedness to provide any kind of assistance for the establishment of sustainable peace in the region.

On July 27, a few days before the start of border clashes, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov had a telephone conversation.

During this phone call, the two sides conferred on the latest developments in bilateral relations and regional issues.

Earlier on July 27, Khatibzadeh expressed regret over the casualties resulting from sporadic border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia, urging the two neighbors to exercise restraint. 

In reaction to the continuation of sporadic border clashes between border guards of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Khatibzadeh expressed sorrow over casualties on both sides, and called on the two countries to exercise restraint, according to a statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a deadly war last year in September over the Nagorno-Karabakh region which resulted in the latter retaking large swathes of the region. After the war, which lasted for 44 days and was ended thanks to a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal, Azerbaijan and Armenia clashed from time to time in border areas but the clashes soon subsided with both sides accusing each other of firing first.

Tensions between the two countries over the region have been simmering since the end of a war in the 1990s and last year's escalation of violence was the deadliest in two decades. More than 5,000 people lost their lives and tens of thousands were displaced.

The peace deal brokered by Moscow saw Armenia forced to cede significant territory to Azerbaijan.

Both countries have repeatedly accused each other of violating the terms of the agreement since it came into force on November 10.

In addition to his conversation with Bayramov, Abdollahian also received a phone call from Croatia’s top diplomat Gordan Grlic Radman who has phoned Abdollahian to congratulate him on winning the Iranian parliament’s vote of confidence.

Abdollahian and Radman discussed Iran-Croatia ties and also the Islamic Republic’s relations with the European Union.

During the telephone conversation, the foreign ministers of Iran and Croatia underlined the need to expand ties between Tehran and Zagreb in all areas.

They agreed that deals signed by the two sides regarding investment, customs cooperation and also cultural cooperation must be put into practice.

Abdollahian also outlined Iran’s stance on the nuclear talks in Vienna. He said it’s not Iran’s policy to hold talks for the sake of talks, noting that any negotiations must exclusively focus on fulfilling the nation’s interests.

Abdollahian said the U.S. should know it can only use respectful language when talking to the Iranian people.


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