From left, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan pose for a photo during the second 3+3 Regional platform summit in Tehran. (Reuters photo)

Iran Hosts Armenia-Azerbaijan Talks as Russia Says Main Issue Resolved in Karabakh

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TEHRAN (Reuters/Public Radio of Armenia) —  The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met on October 23 in Iran, their first talks since Azerbaijan secured control over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, with Russia saying the main issue had been resolved pending further work on a peace treaty.

The meeting in the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s lightning offensive into the disputed territory also took place against the background of rising tensions in the Middle East.

“The conflict has, on the whole, been settled. Both sides agree that Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan and that was the main issue to be settled,” Russia’s Tass news agency quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying in Tehran.

“Of course, practical steps remain for a full normalization of relations, particularly preparations for a peace treaty, the demarcation of borders and the establishment of economic transport links without impediment.”

Ministers from Iran and Turkey also attended. A joint statement said participants agreed to respect the territorial integrity of countries in the region.

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, said before the meeting that the talks represented a “historic opportunity…. The war in South Caucasus has ended, and it is time for peace and cooperation.”

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“The presence of outsiders in the region will not only not solve any problems but will also complicate the situation further,” he added, without elaborating.

That was an implicit reference to the United States and the European Union, whose involvement in the search for a peace agreement has particularly annoyed Russia.

In a statement referring to the meetings, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said the US welcomes any good-faith engagements that contribute to peace and stability for the people of the South Caucasus.

“We welcome any good-faith engagements that contribute to peace and stability for the people of the South Caucasus regardless of where those talks happen or who is hosting them,” Miller said at a daily briefing.

“But that being said, we recognize the South Caucasus’ delicate geographic position regarding Iran and Russia, but we have not found these countries to be reliable partners, to understate matters,” he added.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, quoted by state media, said Tehran “was ready to assist in resolving the existing disputes between Azerbaijan and Armenia.”

Russia regards itself as the security guarantor between Azerbaijan and Armenia but the demands and distractions of its war in Ukraine have led to a weakening of its influence in the South Caucasus.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, in a statement posted on the X social media platform, said Ankara hoped the talks would “give impetus to normalization and peace processes.”

In Paris, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said France was helping improve Armenia’s air defense capacity with the sale of three radars and an agreement on the future delivery of Mistral anti-air missiles.

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi received Ararat Mirzoyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.

The interlocutors hailed the high-level political dialogue established between the two neighboring and friendly countries, which is based on mutual respect and thousand-year-old brotherhood of the two peoples.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and the President of Iran emphasized the deepening of Armenia-Iran cooperation in various fields and underlined efficient steps towards the implementation of agreements in that direction.

Mirzoyan and Raisi also discussed regional and international security issues.

 

 

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