Yerevan to Review Tehran’s Peace Initiative

Yerevan to Review Tehran’s Peace Initiative Yerevan to Review Tehran’s Peace Initiative

Armenia’s foreign minister commended Iran’s constructive role in ensuring regional security and pledged to carefully consider Tehran’s solutions for peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. 
“Iran is a large country in our region and when it comes to regional peace and security, it plays a responsible and constructive role,” ISNA quoted Zohrab Mnatsakanyan as saying in an interview with the Russian RIA Novosti news agency.
He made the statement following his meeting on Thursday with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi who was visiting Yerevan as part of a regional tour to help resolve the conflict in the disputed region, where hundreds have been killed in more than a month of fighting.      
Mnatsakanyan also assured that Iran’s solutions will be carefully reviewed by officials in Yerevan. 
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over an enclave internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians.
Fighting broke out in late September between the two countries over the region, causing massive military and civilian casualties. 
Two ceasefires brokered by Russia and a recent one brokered last Sunday by the United States have failed to halt the fighting.  
Araqchi had earlier held extensive talks with Azerbaijani and Russian officials in Baku and Moscow, which he described as “fruitful”.
“It is regrettable that the number of casualties is increasing. We believe that a route toward peace needs to be worked out immediately and the Islamic Republic’s initiative can open up this path,” he told reporters upon arrival in Yerevan, IRNA reported.  Araqchi said Iran has a balanced approach and remains committed to international regulations in dealing with this crisis.  
“Iran’s capacities and good faith can be helpful in achieving sustainable peace in this region,” he said. 
According to the Iranian diplomat, Iran’s plan can lead to lasting peace and end the conflict and the occupation of Azerbaijani territories in several stages. 
“The end of the occupation of Azeri territories is an important element of Iran’s initiative, which also underlines the protection of minority and humanitarian rights,” he explained. 
Ceasing hostilities and initiating dialogue with the help of influential countries are other axes of the plan. 
“We always support Azerbaijan’s efforts to liberate its occupied cities and areas. The territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and other countries in the region, as well as the inviolability of borders are an important and irreproachable principle that must be respected,” Araqchi said. 
Araqchi was set to visit Turkey, a close ally of Azerbaijan, in the next leg of his tour.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, for talks on Friday and were set to meet envoys from France, Russia and the US, co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group charged with resolving the conflict since 1992. 

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