By Gürkan Demir reporting from Tehran, Iran
The summit of the “Regional Cooperation Platform for the Establishment of Permanent Peace and Stability in the South Caucasus” took place in Tehran on 23 October. Commitment to develop partnerships, peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for the territorial integrity of neighboring countries. I followed the summit on site. Here are some important takeaways of the summit.
Foreign Ministers of Türkiye, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia came together in Tehran within the framework of the 3+3 mechanism. In addition to the five-party summit, the ministers had also bilateral talks.
President Raisi’s remarks
At the same time, the foreign ministers of the guest countries were received separately by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. During these meetings, Raisi emphasized that Iran considers the territorial integrity of regional countries as its own territorial integrity. Raisi, assessing that external interference harms regional peace and stability, stated that Israel and the US would not be real friends of the regional countries.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in press conference stressed that the slogan of the summit, “It’s time for peace, cooperation, and development in South Caucasus”. He also reminded that they had reached an agreement with Baku for the road connecting Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan to pass through Iran.
A corridor from Iran to Nakhchivan
Referring to his meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku approximately three months ago, Amir-Abdollahian stated, “Aliyev stated that they have no intentions to change the borders and geopolitics of South Caucasus. Furthermore, we agreed on to establish a corridor from Iran to Nakhichevan concerning the transportation route of Zangezur. The relevant companies and expert ministries of both countries are working to implement this project.”
Amir-Abdollahian expressed that they have established a platform in South Caucasus with the hope of stable peace and security as soon as possible. He said, “It is a positive step that Armenia recognizes Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh, and in turn Azerbaijan declares its main responsibility to ensure the security and protection of Armenians living in Karabakh. After this summit, I hope there will be no more language of bullying in South Caucasus. We want to hold these meetings in Baku and Yerevan too after the meeting in Türkiye.”
Türkiye: “Countries in the region can solve their problems by themselves”
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a written statement regarding the 5-party meeting, which summarizes what Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stressed at the meeting in 4 points:
“- Türkiye supports resolving regional issues through dialogue for the establishment of a lasting peace;
– The significance of the Platform to demonstrate to the international community that the countries in the region can solve their problems by themselves;
– Regional peace and stability depends on signing of a comprehensive peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia;
– The opening of regional transportation connections will accelerate the normalization and peace processes.”
Lavrov: “An in-depth and productive discussion”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made statements to the press following the meeting. Lavrov described the meeting as “an in-depth and productive discussion regarding the prospects for the development of cooperation between the countries of the region.” Lavrov mentioned that Baku and Yerevan agree that Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan, which he considered the main unresolved issue. He stated, “The conflict has largely been resolved.” “What is remained now” said Lavrov “is practical steps towards fully normalizing relations including the preparation of a peace agreement, delineating borders and establishing unhindered transportation links.”
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov also discussed Türkiye’s proposal for guarantorship in Palestine. He said that he asked his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, to provide more concrete details on this proposal.
A 9-point declaration was adopted at the summit. The articles of the declaration include the following:
- The continuation of regular meetings within the “3+3” regional mechanism to expand and strengthen the atmosphere of trust and cooperation in the region.
- Decided that the next meeting of the Platform will be coordinated through diplomatic channels and held in Türkiye at a mutually agreed date.
- The peaceful resolution of disputes, political independence, territorial integrity, the inviolability of established borders, the prevention of threats or the use of force, and respect for human rights.
- The positive role of economic cooperation in strengthening mutual trust, the prosperity of nations, and the stability of the region.
- The importance of cultural cooperation and joint projects in the fields of education, science, tourism, culture and sports.
- To strengthen bilateral and multilateral consultations and interactions to achieve stable peace and economic development in the region.
- Appreciation of the ongoing processes for the normalization and development of relations between all countries in the region.
- Consensus on the positive outcome of the summit and that the next meetings are open to the participation of Georgia.
In addition to this, the situation in Gaza was also discussed, and the participants emphasized the urgent need to stop the targeting of innocent civilians.
Cover photo by IRNA agency.