The death of a two-year-old Azerbaijani girl and her grandmother in latest clashes is heartbreaking, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told a press conference on Monday as he was asked by anAPA correspondent to comment on Armenia’s recent military provocation that claimed the lives of 2-year-old Zahra and her grandmother.
On July 4 at about 20:40 (GMT+4 hours), the Armenian armed forces, using 82-mm and 120-mm mortars and grenade launchers, shelled the Alkhanli village of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli district. As a result of this provocation, the residents of the village Sahiba Allahverdiyeva, 50, and Zahra Guliyeva, 2, were killed. Salminaz Guliyeva, 52, was injured.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, when the escalation was already mounting in Nagorno-Karabakh, Iran took on the role of mediator and tried for a few months to ensure stability in the region,” said the spokesman, stressing that the growing escalation and confrontations today work for neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia.
“Unfortunately, some foreign elements at times try to escalate the situation in the region and deepen the disputes. We’re saddened by the latest incidents, and we hope to see de-escalation and stability in the region. We will keep working for this,” he added.
Qasemi said he hopes that the Minsk Group will do its part more seriously.
“Regrettably, the latest clashes killed a 2-year-old toddler and another civilian. This is extremely heartbreaking,” he said.
The spokesman went on to say: “Iran’s embassy in Azerbaijan has stated our country’s official stance on this issue. Our stance is apparent. We’re against any step likely to escalate the situation. We hope our recommendations will be acted upon. If we there is something we can do to de-escalate the station, we, without doubt, are ready to be of help.”
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in December 1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.