Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to show restraint and reject any foreign interference over the Karabakh dispute, warning that the region cannot tolerate a new war.
During a telephone conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan Sept. 30, Rouhani voiced concern about the ongoing fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory and underlined the need for regional peace, stability and security.
“Our region cannot endure further instability and a new war,” he said.
Rouhani said a solution to the long-standing dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh needs to be within the framework of international law and territorial integrity.
“The cessation of clashes is important to us, and we expect Armenia and Azerbaijani to choose this path while acting tactfully and exercising restraint,” he said.
Stressing that war was no solution to conflicts and problems, Rouhani also warned against any foreign interference, which he said could “only prolong clashes and tensions and further complicate woes.”
He hailed Iran’s long-lasting ties with the two Caucasian republics which were founded on common history and culture, and voiced Tehran’s readiness to mediate between the two sides in whatever capacity deemed constructive by Armenia and Azerbaijan to help settle the dispute.
“We wish for an immediate halt to clashes, and we should all seek to settle regional issues through diplomacy and international regulations,” he noted.
For his part, the Armenian premier said that any conflict or tension harmed all countries in the region and said his country embraced any viable initiative aimed at ending violence.
He also dismissed foreign interference in the recent fighting between his country and Azerbaijan.
Fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia entered a fourth day on Sept. 30 over the disputed region of Karabakh, a territory which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but has an Armenian population.
The two countries have been locked in the territorial dispute since the 1990s, when Karabakh declared its independence after a war that claimed 30,000 lives.
The fresh fighting is the biggest eruption of the decades-old conflict since a 1994 ceasefire, which has failed to put an ultimate end to the conflict.
World leaders have urged a halt in recent fighting as the conflict has raised the specter of a fresh war between the two ex-Soviet Republics.