20 March 2018

Iran hopes ceasefire in region to be followed by talks

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Iran hopes that ceasefire in Azerbaijan's occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region will allow to start negotiations aimed at resolving the conflict, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with Russian news agency TASS.

"We are very happy to see an end to hostilities right now and cessation of hostilities or a ceasefire," Zarif said. "We hope this would be the prelude to serious negotiations in order to resolve this issue. Our region requires cooperation between everybody."

"We believe Armenia as a neighbor and Azerbaijan as a close friend of Iran need to have good relations and we support all efforts aimed at resolving this problem," the foreign minister noted.

On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.

Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

2016.04.08 / 18:23
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