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BAKU, August 25 (Itar-Tass) —— Azerbaijan’s participation in the summit of the non-aligned movement, to be held in Teheran, may contribute a great deal to its success, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Arakchi told the media in Baku, the local news agency Trend reports.
“Azerbaijan’s participation in that summit as a new member with new ideas may influence its success,” Arakchi said. Azerbaijani president’s visit to Teheran “may become a turning point in the development of bilateral relations.”
Arakchi said that at Friday’s meetings with Azerbaijani officials he repeated the invitation to Ilkham Aliyev to the summit of the non-aligned movement. He said his country was interested in keeping relations with Azerbaijan at a good level.
“In relations between countries there can be ups and downs. The officials of both countries share the same goal: raising bilateral relations to the highest level,” Arakchi said.
At this point there is no official confirmation whether Ilkham Aliyev will attend the non-aligned summit or not.
In general relations between Azerbaijan and Iran developed tensions of late. On the eve of last May’s song contest Eurovision-2012 in Baku Iran accused Azderbaijan of drifting away from the values of Islam. Baku replied that Teheran had launched a massive anti-Azerbaijani propaganda campaign and demanded that Iran should not meddle in its internal affairs. The Iranian Foreign Ministry recalled its ambassador to Baku for nearly a month for consultations. According to foreign and local mass media Iranian secret services were behind an international terrorist group that had plotted terrorist attacks during the Eurovision contest. Azerbaijan’s security services rendered the group harmless last spring.
Two Azerbaijani poets – Farid Gusein and Shakhriyar Gadjizade – were detained in Iran in early May on spying charges, which added to tensions in bilateral relations. Despite intensive diplomatic efforts Baku has not yet secured their release. This theme was discussed at Friday’s meeting Arakchi had with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said. Mamedyarov said the issue caused his country’s serious concern and expressed the hope for its early settlement. He added that relations between his country and Iran influenced the overall situation in the region.