April 19 2010

Manouchehr Mottaki Azerbaijan has accepted Iran's offer of mediation
over the Karabakh conflict, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr
Mottaki has said.

Tehran is concerned about the Karabakh conflict, he told a press
conference yesterday.

'We have tried to resolve this issue at different conferences and
during discussion of regional issues. We believe the Caucasus cannot
carry this burden. The Caucasus is not a place for conflicts. Peace
must be established here. Crisis and wars affect political and economic
issues, including security. As an Islamic state we have declared our
readiness to assist both Azerbaijan and Armenia in the resolution
of this conflict. We believe in a fair resolution of the Karabakh
conflict through negotiations.'

Mottaki said that he had proposed assistance in resolving the Karabakh
conflict to the presidents of both Armenia and Azerbaijan. He said
Azerbaijan had responded positively to the proposal, while Armenia
had yet to respond.

'We can organize a meeting in Tehran at the level of the foreign
ministers of the three countries and discuss the conflict settlement.

Azerbaijan has responded positively to this proposal and agreed to it.

We are still waiting for Armenia's response. We maintain fraternal
and friendly relations with Azerbaijan. The meetings of the foreign
ministers of the two countries promote ties. We have the same
position on the implementation of energy and other economic projects,'
Mottaki said.

In December, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan ruled out Iran's
possible participation as a mediator on the Karabakh settlement. He
told reporters that the mediation format, led by the OSCE's Minsk
Group, would not change.

Mottaki told the press conference: 'Azerbaijan's existence in
conditions of security means to us the development and security
of Iran. There are no restrictions in the development of
Azerbaijani-Iranian ties.'