By Vugar Khalilov
Baku has said that the ongoing Azerbaijani-Turkish joint drills in Azerbaijan’s liberated Lachin region serve the regional peace and stability, the Foreign Ministry reported on September 8.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva made the remarks while commenting on the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s claims that the drills in Lachin contradict the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020, and undermine peace and security.
"It is the sovereign right of every state to conduct various exercises in the territory within its international borders. 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 said.
Abdullayeva drew the Armenian Foreign Ministry's attention to the fact that the threat to regional peace and security is not the conduct of military drills by a state on its own territory.
She described making claims to the territories of another state, pursuing a policy of military aggression, keeping the territories of another state under occupation, and violating the principles of international law, as Armenia has done for many years, as a threat to regional peace.
If Armenia wants to ensure peace and security in the region, then it must fulfill its own obligations, she said.
On September 7, the Armenian Foreign Ministry described the joint Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises in Lachin as “an action harming the steps aimed at de-escalation”.
It should be noted that on September 6, Azerbaijan and Turkey started joint drills in Lachin region liberated from Armenia's occupation in the last year's 44-day war.
The combat tactical exercises are being held under a military cooperation agreement between the two countries.
The joint drills are aimed at improving interaction and combat coordination between the servicemen during operations, as well as to develop commanders' military decision-making and unit management skills.
The clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed after Armenia launched large-scale attacks on Azerbaijani forces and civilians on September 27, 2020.
The 44 days of war ended with the Russian brokered peace deal signed on November 10 by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement ended the 30-years-old conflict between Baku and Yerevan over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region that along with the seven adjacent districts came under the occupation of Armenian armed forces in the war in the early 1990s.
For about three decades, Armenia failed to implement the UN Security Council resolutions demanding the withdrawal of the Armenian troops, which was the main obstacle to the resolution of the conflict.
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