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Iran says ready to help establish peace in Karabakh, urges Azerbaijan, Armenia to exercise restraint

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An Armenian soldier looks toward Azerbaijan’s positions during a military conflict against Azerbaijan’s armed forces in Karabakh, October 21, 2020. (Photo by AP)

Iran says it is ready to help establish sustainable peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Karabakh, urging both sides to the conflict to respect internationally recognized borders.

In a statement on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh voiced concern about the continuation of border clashes between Azeri and Armenian forces and stressed the need for both sides to observe restraint and resolve their border disputes peacefully.

Khatibzadeh also regretted the killing and injuring of individuals from Azerbaijan and Armenia during the latest clashes, after which both sides accused each other of escalating the situation.

On Wednesday, three Armenian troops were killed and two wounded in border clashes with Azerbaijani forces.

The two neighboring countries fought a six-week war last year in which Azeri troops drove Armenian forces out of swathes of territory they had long controlled in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. The conflict claimed thousands of lives.

Although the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, ended in a Russian-brokered ceasefire, clashes on the border have persisted at irregular intervals this year, occasionally causing fatalities.

Armenia to ask for Russian military deployment on common border

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday that he would ask for the deployment of Russian border forces at the common border with Azerbaijan to prevent further escalation after the latest clashes.

“I think it makes sense to consider the question of stationing outposts of Russian border guards along the entire stretch of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border,” Pashinyan said, addressing a cabinet meeting.

He said the move will help the two sides “carry out work on demarcation and delimitation of the border without the risk of military clashes.”

“We are planning to discuss the matter with our Russian colleagues.”

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has refused to comment on Pashinyan’s planned proposal.

“Contacts with Yerevan are continuing, I have nothing more to say,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters, noting that Russia was involved in efforts to calm new tensions between the two neighboring countries.

“Work is continuing to ensure the full implementation of the bilateral agreements,” he said.

Moscow has deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers in and around Karabakh to oversee last year’s ceasefire.

Russia has also offered to help resolve the border disputes by working with the two sides to clearly define the borders.

Last week, one Azerbaijani soldier was killed and three Armenian soldiers injured in clashes between the two sides, as Azerbaijani and Armenian forces exchanged fire for several hours along a section of their border.

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