The Iran Project

Iran urges Azerbaijan, Armenia to exercise ‘restraint’

Hossein Jaberi Ansari

Iran has called for an immediate halt in clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces along the disputed border region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Tehran called on both of its northern neighbors to “refrain from any manner or action” which could “worsen the situation,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari on Saturday.

He added his country recommends that they cease hostilities by reaching a peaceful solution within the framework of the United Nations regulations.

Jaberi Ansari underlined that as the region has been the scene of “destructive actions” by extremist groups, the news of such clashes has aroused “severe concerns” for Iran.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also voiced concerns over the conflict and called on both parties to stop the fighting.

“The secretary-general urges all relevant parties to put an immediate end to the fighting, fully respect the ceasefire agreement and take urgent steps to deescalate the situation,” said the statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson.

A video grab made on April 2, 2016 from footage made available on the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Defence Ministry’s official website, reportedly shows a damaged house in Karabakh after clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces. (AFP)

The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also urged a halt in the conflict.

“Steinmeier is calling on the sides to cease hostilities immediately,” read an OSCE statement.

Following the escalation in the disputed region, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Russia said that his country was prepared for a military solution.

“The attempts of a peaceful solution to this conflict have been underway for 22 years. How much more will it take? We are ready for a peaceful solution to the issue. But if it’s not solved peacefully then we will solve it by military means,” said Polad Bulbuloglu.

Earlier, Azerbaijan announced that 12 of its troops had been killed and Armenia said 18 had lost their lives in the violence which started overnight Friday.

After the announcement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan phoned his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, to express his condolences over the Azeri casualties.

“The Turkish president expressed his support and solidarity in relation to the events on the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani and stressed that the Turkish people will always be with the people of Azerbaijan,” read a statement released by the Azeri president’s press service.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also reacted to the conflict urging “an immediate ceasefire.”

Karabakh region, which is located in the Azerbaijan Republic but populated by Armenians, has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian militia and the Armenian troops since a three-year war, claiming over 30,000 lives, over the region ended between the two republics in 1994 through Russian mediation.

Last December, the Armenian Defense Ministry said the ceasefire deal reached in 1994 was no longer in place, saying the current situation amounted to “war.”

Although the two countries are divided by a buffer zone, both sides frequently accuse one another of violating the ceasefire.

By Press TV

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