Iran’s FM in Baku to discuss regional cooperation, bilateral relations
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has arrived in the capital city of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the first leg of a regional tour to Caucasus, which will later take him to Russia and Turkey as well.
Upon his arrival at Baku airport on Sunday evening, Zarif told reporters that the main goal of his visit is promotion of regional cooperation, “which is of high importance” to the Islamic Republic, and expansion of bilateral relations with countries in this region, Press TV reported.
“Iran already enjoys very cordial and close relations with these countries,” Zarif added.
He noted that he will hold talks with Azerbaijan's top officials on Monday about the reconstruction of Karabakh and ways to promote stability in the region.
The top Iranian diplomat expressed satisfaction that Azerbaijan has regained its territories after a recent armed conflict with the neighboring Armenia, saying, "We are interested in helping people of the liberated lands return to their places of residence as soon as possible."
Zarif noted that he will also raise this issue with Azeri authorities.
Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been occupied by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia since 1992 when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.
The latest armed conflict between the two countries erupted on September 27 last year and ended on November 10 through a Russian-brokered truce.
As part of the truce agreement, Armenia returned swathes of territory it had occupied for decades to Azeri control.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif said north-south and north-west international transportation corridors as well as transit of commodities will be among other issues to be discussed with Azeri authorities.
Iran and Azerbaijan on January 18 signed a contract to bolster their economic cooperation as Baku welcomed Iran’s increased investment and technical assistance to rebuild regions around Nagorno-Karabakh.
In response to a question about Iran's ties with the Persian Gulf littoral states and the best way to thwart the existing tensions, Zarif said, "We have always believed that the Persian Gulf region needs dialogue and cooperation and building trust among the Persian Gulf regional countries. Our arms have always been and will be open to neighbors in this regard."
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Saturday that Zarif will travel to Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Turkey at the head of a delegation.
He added that the top Iranian diplomat is scheduled to discuss bilateral issues, the latest developments in the Caucasus, joints projects and ways of promoting peace and stability in the region with his counterparts and other top officials of these countries.
Source: Iran Daily