By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan increased its defence and security expenditures by 31.6 pct in 2020, local news sources reported on May 24.
To strengthen the country’s defence potential and further improve the armed forces’ logistics, AZN 4.4 billion ($2.6bn) were allocated for defence and national security under the draft law on the implementation of Azerbaijan’s 2020 budget. According to the draft law, it is 31.6 pct more as against 2019.
Moreover, Azerbaijan allocated AZN 10.2 million to eliminate the damages inflicted on civilians by Armenia’s aggression in 2020. In addition, the country spent AZN 2.9 million on demining operations last year.
The revenues of Azerbaijan’s 2020 state budget made up AZN 24.6 billion ($12.7bn), while the expenditures were AZN 26.4 billion ($15.5bn).
According to the 2020 draft law, the budget deficit was AZN 1.7 billion ($1bn), as of January 1, 2021, the free balance of the single treasury account was AZN 1.5 billion ($897.7m)
Azerbaijan entered the Patriotic War with Armenia after that latter started firing at Azerbaijani civilians and military positions starting September 27, 2020. The war ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani Army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centres and historic Shusha city. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
Some 21 Azerbaijani citizens, including 14 civilians were killed and 87 citizens, 16 civilians were injured in mine explosions in liberated lands since the signing of the Karabakh peace deal on November 10, 2020.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev earlier described Armenia’s failure to provide the mine maps as the main difficulty for Azerbaijani IPDs to return to their homes. He said that this is yet another war crime by Armenia as several servicemen and civilians were killed in mine blasts on the liberated territories after the war.
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