YEREVAN, May 26. /ARKA/. Armenia’s Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received on Wednesday Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who has arrived in Armenia after visiting Azerbaijan on Tuesday.
“Our relations with Iran are of strategic importance. Since the first years of independence, our border with Iran has ensured in many respects the security of our country. I am glad to note that there is a similar perception of our relations in Iran,” Pashinyan was quoted by the government press office as saying.
According to him, economic ties between the countries have been developing for many years, especially in the Syunik region that borders Iran.
“We have created a free economic zone in Meghri to deepen economic relations with Iran, but because of a number of circumstances, including the coronavirus crisis, this free economic zone has not yet gained sufficient momentum, but we are convinced that it can become a very strong fulcrum for the further development of our economic relations,” Pashinyan said.
“We also have discussions on security and there are certain issues on the agenda, the nature of our negotiations and discussions is strategic. We must make efforts to succeed. You know that recently we have been experiencing some tension on the border with Azerbaijan after Azerbaijani troops illegally crossed the border of Armenia in several sections,” Pashinyan said.
He reminded that Armenia’s position is unambiguous- Azerbaijan troops must leave the Armenian territory.
“And we are making political and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue, first of all because our partners in the CSTO have asked us to try to resolve the issue through diplomatic and political means. Of course, we also want to resolve the issue by diplomatic and political means,” Pashinyan said.
He stated with regret that the day before the Armenian side had already had a victim. A serviceman of the Armed Forces of Armenia was killed by a shot from the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan.
“So, the situation is quite tense, this meeting is a good opportunity to get acquainted with the views of the Islamic Republic of Iran on a way out of this situation,” Pashinyan said.
In turn, Zarif stated that Armenia has always been a good friend of his country. He said there are many areas of cooperation between Iran and Armenia, a vivid example of this was the visit of the Minister of Roads and Urban Development of Iran to Armenia, which was very successful.
“And I hope that after the end of this pandemic we will be able to further develop bilateral relations in the economic sphere. The existence of the Meghri free economic zone, as well as the Iran-Nakhichevan-Armenia railway can be very effective for both countries. A good agreement has been reached. And I hope that in the near future we will be able to ensure an active presence in the Syunik region,” Zarif said.
In his words, a good dialogue has been established between him and his Armenian colleagues, and at the first opportunity the Iranian negotiator will come to Armenia to continue it.
“There are many important issues, both bilaterally and regionally that need to be resolved. We want peace in this region. And we have always emphasized territorial integrity, sovereignty and peaceful resolution of crises. The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to respect for international law,” noted Zarif.
He recalled that in order to resolve the recent escalation, Iran made three visits to Armenia. “I am sorry that you have a victim as a result of this new escalation. Yesterday I had a very detailed and meaningful conversation with the President of Azerbaijan. I hope that our meeting today, like the meeting with my distinguished colleague, will help resolve this crisis,” said Zarif.
Iranian Foreign Minister stressed his country’s interest in ensuring regional stability, full preservation and ensuring the territorial integrity of Armenia.
The further development of cooperation within the framework of the gas / electricity exchange program was discussed. Pashinyan and Zarif exchanged also views on the regional situation, steps aimed at ensuring stability and peace, as well as close cooperation between the two countries in this matter. -0-