Rejecting Armenian claims, Azerbaijan says drills with Turkey serve regional peace
Sovereign right of every state to conduct military exercises in its territory, says Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry
Joint military exercises by Azerbaijan and Turkey in Lachin, liberated from the Armenian occupation last year, will help ensure peace and stability in the region, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
“It is the sovereign right of every state to conduct various exercises in the territory within its international borders,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva told reporters, rebuffing Armenia's claims that the drills launched on Monday violate last November’s cease-fire agreement.
“To date, Azerbaijan has conducted numerous military exercises on its territory, including joint exercises with the participation of partner countries. The joint tactical training launched in Lachin region is of similar origin and serves to ensure peace and stability in the region.”
She called on Armenia to “fulfill its own obligations” to maintain peace and security in the region.
“We would like to draw Armenia’s attention to the fact that the threat to regional peace and security is not a conduct of a military training by a state on its own territory, but is to make claims to the territories of another state, to pursue a policy of military aggression, to keep the territories of another state under occupation and, finally, to violate the principles of international law, as Armenia has done for many years,” the official added.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia 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 on Sept. 27, 2020, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and some 300 settlements and villages after a nearly three-decade occupation.
On Nov. 10, 2020, the two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
The cease-fire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces withdrew in line with the agreement.