The president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and the president of Iran, Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, met on Sunday (28 November) on the sidelines of the ECO Council of Foreign Ministers conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Prior to the presidential meeting, the ministers of foreign affairs of both countries also held a meeting, in which they exchanged views on “the current situation in the region, including the Sochi meeting of the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, the implementation of trilateral statements in general, as well as the importance of a “3 + 3” cooperation platform in the region”. They also reportedly discussed other regional issues, such as the situation in Afghanistan and the Vienna talks on Iran’s nuclear program.
At the start of the meeting between the two presidents, Ebrahim Raisi began by highlighting that good progress had been made in the meeting between the foreign ministers, adding that “very positive” discussions had taken place which would contribute to the development of relations between the two countries.
He noted that Iran's relations with Azerbaijan was not only neighbourly, but a “relation of hearts. The hearts of peoples of the two countries beat together”. He went on to say that the two countries must resolve their own issues and work together to “advance our relations and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation”.
On the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, he affirmed that Iran’s position was that “the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan should not be compromised and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan should be ensured”.
On his part, Azerbaijan president Aliyev said that he attached great importance to relations with Iran, and that the two peoples were “fraternal peoples” who had lived together for centuries, and shared a common history and culture.
According to the Azerbaijani readout, the sides discussed issues of cooperation between the two countries, including “the North-South transport corridor, as well as the Zangazur transport corridor”.
The presidents also touched upon the creation of an energy hub between the two countries, as well as between Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran. They also signed the “Agreement defining the terms of transit of natural gas through the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, which Aliyev hailed as “historic”.
Tensions between the two nations flared last month as a result of a series of incidents which culminated in both countries holding war games on each other’s border.