2021-May-18 18:24
2021-March-1  13:19

Iran Stresses Cessation of Hostilities, Respect for Territorial Integrity in Karabakh Region

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said his country wants ending of hostilities and respect for territorial integrity of the countries in the Caucasus, adding that the occupied lands in Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijan.

“The cessation of hostilities, the return of the occupied territories to Azerbaijan and the establishment of transit routes between the countries of the region and the establishment of human communication routes were among the most important axes of Iran’s plan [for Karabakh conflict]”, Araqchi said during the international conference on Karabakh conflict on Monday in the city of Qom.

 "We believe that our good neighborliness with Azerbaijan has created good capacities for broad communication," he said.

The Iranian diplomat also said that Iran has always been against any threat posed to countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The deputy Foreign Minister stated that while the international community, including the Minsk Group, has failed to resolve decades of the territorial dispute between Baku and Yerevan, Iran has a very good capacity in relation to the countries of the region and can help address the issue.

Araqchi said that Iran prepared a plan to resolve the conflict and presented it to the officials of the two countries.

 “The signing of the Khoda-Afarin Dam by Iran and Azerbaijan showed Iran's serious opposition to the Armenian occupation of Karabakh," he further said.

"There was a concern about the presence of Takfiri groups in the region, and the Azeri officials assured us that these groups have no place among the people and officials of Azerbaijan,” Araqchi stated.

The international conference on Karabakh conflict kicked off in the holy city of Qom, Central Iran, on Monday morning. Senior religious and political figures have attended the event, including Head of Iran's Islamic Seminaries Ayatollah Alireza Arafi, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, Secretary of Expediency Council Mohsen Rezayee and Senior Advisor to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ali-Akbar Velayati.

Iranian and international experts will touch upon the event from different aspects, including the humanitarian responsibilities over the issue that have been highlighted in the remarks of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

Among other topics mention can be made to the necessity for freedom of the lands belonging to Azerbaijan, ensuring the safety of the Armenians residing in those regions and the need for mutual respect for the territorial integrity of both sides.

Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been held by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia since 1992, when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.

The conflict re-erupted in late September 2020, becoming the worst fighting in the region in decades.

After weeks of fighting in and around Karabakh, the separatist government of the region finally acknowledged in November 2020 that it had lost control of the mountain enclave’s second-largest city of Shusha and that Azerbaijani forces were closing in on the main city of Khankendi, which Armenians call Stepanakert after a Bolshevik militant in the early 20th century.

Armenia and Azerbaijan eventually agreed to end hostilities in early November under a deal that secured territorial advances for Azerbaijan in Karabakh and seven surrounding districts.