Armenia, Azerbaijan Be part of Iran-hosted Talks Aimed At Reconciliation

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Armenia and Azerbaijan joined talks Monday in Tehran looking for to ease tensions between the arch foes, which soared with Baku’s lightning offensive to retake the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area.

Nevertheless, the identical day because the assembly, Azerbaijan introduced the beginning of joint navy drills with its ally Turkey close to the border with Armenia simply weeks after Baku seized Karabakh from pro-Yerevan separatists.

On the assembly within the Iranian capital — which additionally included international ministers from Turkey, Russia and Iran — the envoys famous a push for peace within the Caucasus.

“This assembly… could be the cornerstone of the trail in the direction of establishing peace and ending challenges within the South Caucasus with the participation of regional gamers and neighbours,” stated Iran’s Overseas Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The talks are seen as Moscow’s try to cut back rising Western affect within the Caucasus — a area it has lengthy thought-about as its yard.

In accordance with Moscow’s authentic plan, the “3+3 format” was meant to additionally embrace Georgia. However Tbilisi, which aspires to affix the EU and NATO, has rejected the proposal.

Since Moscow brokered a 2020 ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the European Union and United States have stepped up their very own efforts to mediate a peace settlement between the 2 sides.

Russia, the standard power-broker within the area, has seen its position diminished because it invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Forward of the talks, Azerbaijan’s defence ministry stated Monday it had begun joint drills with its ally Turkey close to the border with Armenia — weeks after Baku seized the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area from pro-Yerevan separatists.

Azerbaijan final month took management of the enclave in a 24-hour navy operation that ended many years of Armenian separatist rule.

The ministry stated “as much as 3,000” troops would participate within the tactical drills held within the capital Baku, the Nakhichevan exclave between Iran and Armenia, in addition to territories retaken from Armenian separatists.

The workouts — dubbed “Mustafa Kemal Ataturk 2023” — contain dozens of artillery weapons and aviation.

Baku stated they had been geared toward “guaranteeing fight interoperability” between the allies.

Tensions are working excessive between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a month after Baku’s lightning offensive.

Yerevan fears that energy-rich Baku could search to press its benefit — with the assistance of Ankara — to forcibly join its Nakhichevan exclave with Azerbaijan correct by capturing lands in southern Armenia, alongside the Iranian border.

Iran opposes the concept of a so-called Zangezur hall, as it might create a direct land hyperlink between Azerbaijan and Tehran’s historic rival Turkey.

Armenia stated it is able to reopen transport communications between mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through its territory underneath situation that its sovereignty over the world will not be questioned.

Baku has denied having any territorial claims over Armenia.

Karabakh, internationally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan and for many years house to a majority Armenian inhabitants, was on the centre of two wars between Yerevan and Baku — in 2020 and within the early Nineteen Nineties following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After a months-long blockade of the area, Azerbaijan launched a lightning offensive towards Armenian separatist forces on September 19, 2023.

After lower than a day of combating, separatist authorities agreed to put down arms and reintegrate with Azerbaijan.

Virtually all of Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian inhabitants — some 100,000 folks — fled for Armenia after the offensive, sparking a refugee disaster.

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