“The Minsk Group [of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] has shown its inefficiency,” said Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and the Iranian president’s special envoy for Nagorno-Karabakh, in a statement made in Moscow on October 29.
Earlier this week, Iran announced it had drawn up a plan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the hope of stopping fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continuing along its northwestern border.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif did not divulge any details of the plan. Zarif’s deputy Abbas Araghchi reportedly travelled to Baku earlier this week to submit the peace proposals to Azerbaijan’s leadership. Tehran said the plan would be presented in Moscow and Yerevan as well.
“It has been 30 years since the Minsk Group was formed, but it has not been able to find a long-term solution to the problem,” said Araghchi, as quoted by the Iranian embassy in Moscow, speaking about the group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France.
Each country of the co-chairing troika tried to broker a ceasefire in the conflict zone earlier in October, but in each case it collapsed within hours after taking effect, with Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian forces accusing each other of failing to live up to the agreement.
Araghchi arrived in the Russian capital from Baku, where he reportedly met with the Azerbaijani leadership on October 28.
“My meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev lasted for about an hour and a half. Azerbaijani officials have a positive attitude towards Tehran’s plan to establish lasting peace in the region,” the Iranian official said, as quoted by the IRNA news agency.
Araghchi added that according to the plan drafted in Tehran, ceasefire is to be established after certain initial steps. The Iranian diplomat did not elaborate.
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are expected to hold meetings with the Minsk Group co-chairs this week in a fresh effort to reach ceasefire and discuss further settlement of the long-running conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Moscow believes the death toll from the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh that broke out on September 27 was nearing 5,000.