Armenia, Iran for peaceful settlement in Karabakh


RIA Novosti, Russia
Sept 9 2004

YEREVAN, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – The presidents of Armenia and
Iran, Robert Kocharyan and Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami, came out
for peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict, the hot stage of
which ended 10 years ago.

The sides highly assessed direct contacts between the Armenian and
Azeri presidents and expressed hope that they helped rapidly and
finally solve the issue which would take into account the present-day
realities and ensure the lasting and worthy peace in the region.

The presidents of Armenia and Iran pointed out that the deepening and
bringing closer together the interests of the region’s countries
would make it possible to create a favorable atmosphere for solving
all the conflicts in the Caucasus.

The situation in the zone of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian enclave
on the territory of Azerbaijan, and around it can be described as no
peace, no war situation. When Ilkham Aliyev came to power in
Azerbaijan he intensified bellicose rhetoric and declared that the
republic’s army could return the Azeri territories, occupied by the
Armenian side, by using force. At the same time, Azerbaijan
demonstrates its readiness to give a large-scale status to the
self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh republic but within a single Azeri
state. But both Yerevan and Stepanakert (the capital of
Nagorno-Karabakh) agree to consider any other issues of settlement
(the return of refugees to the places of their permanent residence,
the liquidation of the Lachinsky corridor which connects
Nagorno-Karabakh with the territory of Armenia, the restoration of
interrupted economic ties, the lifting of blockade from Karabakh and
so on) but not changes in its present status. The Minsk group did not
bring the sides’ stands closer to each other either.

The Armenian and Iranian presidents signed a treaty on the
foundations and principles of cooperation.

The press service of the head of Armenia reported that the
delegations of the two countries also signed a memorandum on mutual
relations on the results of the fifth joint session of
intergovernmental commissions on the Armenian-Iranian ties; the
treaty of cultural cooperation between the two countries in 2004-2007
and a memorandum on mutual understanding between the customs
committee under the Armenian government and the customs service of
Iran on the administrative cooperation in customs issues.

President Mohammad Khatami arrived in Yerevan in reply to Robert
Kocharyan’s visit to Iran in December 2001. The Iranian president
pointed out that when Armenia became an independent state a new stage
in its cooperation with Iran began. Khatami expressed hope that his
visit to Yerevan will help deepen the Armenian-Iranian relations in
all spheres.

The foreign trade between Armenia and Iran in January-July, 2004
amounted to $52.713 million against $45.746 million year-on-year.

Last May a treaty was signed in Yerevan on the deliveries of the
Iranian gas to Armenia and construction of an Iran-Armenia gas
pipeline. Now the construction of the Kadzharan tunnel and the
hydroelectric power station on the Araks river dividing the two sides
is being actively discussed.

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