Security and other major issues affecting the Caucasus region should be worked on through a six-country collaborative bloc, Russia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Sergey Lavrov proposed working to thaw ties on transport and the economy in collaboration with Armenia and Azerbaijan, who last year fought over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory, plus their neighbour Georgia.
The “3+3 format” would also include the Caucasus nations’ “big neighbours”, including Iran, Russia and Turkey, Anadolu Agency reported on Wednesday.
Tensions have also erupted between Iran and Azerbaijan in recent weeks. (?)
It came as Lavrov met Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Moscow.
“The joint [Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia] statement [which stopped the Nagorno-Karabakh war] contained the principles that define joint steps to advance the settlement, including work on unblocking all transport communications, unblocking all economic ties in this region, from which not only Armenia and Azerbaijan but also Georgia will benefit,” Lavrov asserted.
Tehran, Moscow and Ankara stand to gain from the arrangement, he said.
Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey have responded favourably to the idea, he added.
Lavrov said he hopes to see Georgia in favour of the proposal regardless of the turmoil in Tbilisi, which has recently seen a political meltdown.
He maintained this type of “mechanism for consultations and coordination of solutions for the accelerated development of this region” is good for Georgia.
Russia and Georgia fought a short-lived war in 2008 over breakaway regions.
The diplomat subsequently raised the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, calling for its formal adoption, or ratification, by Iran.
He claimed it “directly prohibits the presence of military forces of any non-Caspian states on the Caspian Sea” and will be effective “as soon as the last instrument of ratification is received”.
'It seems evident' that the United States should be more active in resolving all issues related to the #Iran nuclear deal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.https://t.co/7wSyL8Upo8 — The New Arab (@The_NewArab) September 26, 2021
Lavrov said Tehran’s parliament is presently considering the matter.
Iran’s ties with Azerbaijan, one of the Caucasus states, mentioned in the Lavrov proposal, have recently soured.
This has seen Iran’s armed forces conduct military drills close to the Azerbaijan border. (I’d have to do some more reading on this claim)
Tehran has additionally alleged that Israeli forces are in Azerbaijan, though Baku has denied this. (???? I question that claim and wonder if it was actually made by Tehran)
Iran has given some support to Armenia in the long-running conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh area and this has been a prolonged source of contention with Azerbaijan.