Baku interested in boosting ties with Iran: Azeri FM

November 6, 2021 - 19:27

TEHRAN – Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has expressed interest in beefing up ties with Iran in various fields after weeks of heightened tensions between the two neighbors.

“We are interested in developing relations with Iran and many areas of cooperation lie ahead of the two countries,” he said in remarks to Iran’s state TV.

He added, “I can say that due to the many commonalities between the two countries, there are many plans for bilateral cooperation. I am sure that we can develop the good relationship of the past based on good neighborliness.”

Emphasizing the continuation of diplomatic talks between the foreign ministry officials, the foreign minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan said, “We are satisfied with the formal and informal diplomatic talks of recent weeks and we believe that some issues can be resolved through telephone conversations with my esteemed colleague (Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian).”

The top Azerbaijani diplomat played down the recent tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan, saying that disagreements between countries are always possible. 

“Disagreements between all countries are possible and no country is an exception to this rule and may even be among neighboring countries, but our close relations and neighborhood with Iran have shown that some of these differences can be resolved through dialogue,” he said. 

Referring to the need to develop relations between the two countries, Bayramov said, “The priority of the foreign policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan is to maintain and develop relations with neighboring countries, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran. Given the many fields and capacities of bilateral cooperation and the always positive background of these relations, we will see the development of relations between the two countries in the future.”

The remarks came on the heels of a statement by the Iranian foreign minister. Amir Abdollahian has said that the Tehran-Baku ties continue in a positive and neighborly direction.

He said, “There may be differences of opinion on some issues, but it is important that there is a serious will on both sides to overcome the obstacles. I and my colleague Jeyhun Bayramov, on behalf of the two countries, will continue our positive contacts and consultations for the comprehensive development of bilateral relations and clearing up misunderstandings.”

The Iranian foreign minister also said that he reached an agreement with his Azerbaijani counterpart on enhancing bilateral cooperation and the better management of media atmosphere.
“In this framework, the two sides have agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation for better management of public and media atmosphere, and to form a joint committee between the two countries.

“We consider our neighbors as our relatives and in this regard, we appreciate the principles governing these relations,” Amir Abdollahian said according to a statement by the Iranian foreign ministry.
Over the last weeks, relations between Tehran and Baku soured for a number of reasons. The tensions began in early August when social media users in Iran reported mistreatment of Iranian truck drivers by Azerbaijani forces along the Goris-Kapan Highway which links Iran to Armenia through the newly-liberated Karabakh region. 

The Iranian trucks were carrying Armenia-bound goods from Iran but due to the change in Karabakh’s borders during a 2020 war had to pass through a road curve into Azerbaijan’s territory.

Azerbaijan also reportedly imposed a staggering tax on Iranian commercial trucks which drew criticism from Iranian merchants.

Iran has sought to defuse tensions with Azerbaijan and even intends to hold a trilateral meeting between Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey in Tehran. This issue was discussed during a one-on-one meeting between Amir Abdollahian and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of the UN annual conference.

In addition, the Iranian foreign minister held a phone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart for the second time in a month in October amid border tensions between Tehran and Baku that resulted in a media war of words and extensive diplomatic contacts.

But these tensions faded away as the two sides opted for de-escalation. In the latest sign of improvement in Iran-Azerbaijan relations, Amir Abdollahian and his Azerbaijani counterpart discussed relations between Tehran and Baku in a telephone conversation.

In the conversation, Amir Abdollahian referred to the recent constructive contacts between the two ministers, praising the Republic of Azerbaijan for the release of two Iranian drivers detained in the country, the Iranian foreign ministry said. 

The Iranian foreign minister described the move as a constructive step that can provide the necessary room to clear up misunderstandings.

He also called for more positive steps and urged Baku to facilitate the movement of Iranian trucks in border areas with the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Amir Abdollahian emphasized the need to adopt a positive approach and look to the future by the two countries and said the joint economic commission of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan should be activated as soon as possible.

Iran’s foreign minister noted that Tehran is determined to deepen bilateral relations with Baku. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Bayramov also welcomed the positive steps taken by the two countries to clear up the misunderstandings. He described the release of the two Iranian drivers and Iran’s move to order relevant organizations in the Islamic Republic regarding border traffic laws as a message from both sides to clear up misunderstandings.

The top Azerbaijani diplomat also noted that the definition of joint economic projects between the two countries has positive effects for the activation of their joint economic commission.

At the end of the conversation, the two sides agreed to continue consultations.

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