Zarif Outlines Karabakh Peace Plan


Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday provided details of Iran’s proposed plan for the settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In an interview with IRIB News, Zarif said the initiative involves a temporary ceasefire and a permanent resolution of the dispute. 

“The framework begins with both sides making commitments to certain principles and continues with other measures, especially the exit of occupying forces from all occupied regions,” he said.

According to Zarif, safeguarding people’s rights, creating communication links and regional countries’ monitoring of the plan’s implementation are among other details of Iran’s proposal.

“We are waiting for Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities as well as our Russian and Turkish friends to present their views on the plan,” he said.

The disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but is populated and governed by ethnic Armenians.

Fresh fighting between the two countries over the mountainous enclave erupted on Sept. 27, killing hundreds of people.

Two ceasefires brokered by Russia and a recent one brokered last Sunday by the United States have failed to halt the fighting. 

Zarif said Iran has held consultations with both Baku and Yerevan and their respective allies, Turkey and Russia, since the beginning of the crisis.

“We believe the greatest damage is suffered by the regional states and the most effective measures to end the war can be taken by these very countries,” he said.

“Based on this view, Iran prepared its plan and began consultations without any intention to compete with existing peace mechanisms such as that of the OSCE Minsk group.”  

The group was created in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

It is co-chaired by France, Russia and the US, and includes Belarus, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Turkey as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan as participants.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan held talks within this framework in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday and met envoys from the group’s co-chairs, but could only reach minor agreements.



Comprehensive Initiative

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told an Azeri news channel that proposals made over the past 30 years have failed to settle the conflict because they were far from reality while Iran’s plan takes all conditions into account.

“It includes principles such as respect to sovereignty and territorial integrity, inviolability of borders, end of occupation, respect to minorities’ rights, repatriation of war refugees and expulsion of foreign forces from the region,” he said, adding that the dispute can be resolved if both sides accept these recommendations.

He made a regional tour over the weekend to introduce the initiative to the warring countries and other regional players after it was discussed in Iran and approved by relevant authorities.

Araqchi held talks with officials in Baku, Moscow, Yerevan and Ankara following a visit to border areas.  

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