DUBAI, April 8 (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of Iran and Azerbaijan discussed “problems and misunderstandings” between the two countries in two phone calls, Iranian state media reported on Saturday, days after Baku expelled four Iranian diplomats over “provocative actions”.
The expulsions came amid a deterioration of ties, partly due to Baku’s improving relations with Tehran’s arch-enemy Israel. The dispute came to a head when Baku last week opened an embassy in Israel.
“In these frank and transparent discussions, existing problems and misunderstandings and solutions …were discussed,” state media said about the phone calls on Friday and Saturday between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
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“The two sides emphasised good neighbourliness and mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the report said.
During the row, Azerbaijan suggested that Iran may have been connected to an attempted assassination of an anti-Tehran Azerbaijani lawmaker. Tehran has denied the accusation.
Iran, which has a large population of ethnic Azeris in its northwest, has strongly criticised Azerbaijan for moving closer to Israel, with its foreign ministry saying it sees the relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel as “anti-Iranian”.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Christina Fincher)