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Armenia, Iran working on alternative transportation route in region

Talks are being held between Armenia and Iran on opening a transportation corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said Wednesday.

“We hope that an agreement will be signed with Iran on this matter in the near future,” Mirzoyan told reporters in the Armenian capital of Yerevan after meeting his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

He said his office is planning to meet Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov on the Karabakh issue.

“We agreed to hold a new meeting,” said Mirzoyan.

Karabakh conflict

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

When new clashes erupted Sept. 27, 2020, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.

The fighting ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020.

The cease-fire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces withdrew in line with the agreement.

Before the deal, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory was under illegal occupation.

Two months later, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure to benefit the entire region. It also included the establishment of a trilateral working group concerning Karabakh.

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