YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan joined his Azerbaijani, Iranian, Russian and Turkish counterparts in meeting on Monday in Tehran for talks on peace and stability in the South Caucasus.
The multilateral talks were held within the framework of the so-called “Consultative Regional Platform 3+3” launched in December 2021 in Moscow. Georgia continues to boycott the platform, citing continuing Russian occupation of its breakaway regions.
“The war in the South Caucasus is now over and the time has come for peace, cooperation and development in the Caucasus,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was reported to say at the start of the talks.
“We believe that problems in this region can be resolved without external interference. This is part of the message of today’s meeting in the 3+3 format,” he said, underscoring Iran’s strong opposition to Western presence in the region, which is shared by Russia.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi likewise described it as “harmful for regional peace and stability” when he met with Mirzoyan earlier in the day, according to Iranian news agencies.
Amid its deepening rift with Moscow, the Armenian leadership now seems to be pinning hopes on Western efforts to broke a resolution of its conflict with Azerbaijan. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed hope last week that he and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will meet in Brussels again and finalize a bilateral peace treaty before the end of this year.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov questioned the European Union’s ability to facilitate the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, a key remaining obstacle to the signing of the treaty.
“Let them try their luck in Brussels, if they want to, but we are always ready to help start the real delimitation,” he told reporters after the Tehran meeting.
Lavrov said that these and other sticking points in Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations were not “directly” discussed by the five ministers.
“There are other channels for doing this. But the platform itself helps resolve remaining issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” added the top Russian diplomat.
Mirzoyan held a separate meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on the sidelines of the Tehran conference, which coincided with the start of a fresh Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercise held near Armenia’s borders. His press office reported no such meetings with Lavrov or Azerbaijan’s Jeyhun Bayramov as of 10 p.m. local time on Monday.