Armenian-claimed enclave conducts military exercises

Agence France Presse
Aug 10 2004

Armenian-claimed enclave conducts military exercises

AGDAM, Azerbaijan (AFP) Aug 10, 2004

The armed forces of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh
Tuesday ended a military exercise on the borders of Azerbaijan that
Armenian Defense Minister Serj Sarkissian said was aimed at keeping
the peace.
Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave in the heart of
Azerbaijan, was the scene of a civil war in the 1990s that ended with
a ceasefire in 1994 that left the enclave in Armenian hands. The war
displaced a million civilians and left some 35,000 people dead.

Azerbaijan still claims the territory.

Sarkissian, who watched the maneuvers, said “these exercises are
aimed at keeping the peace.” He added it was important to keep a
regional power balance.

“The armed forces of Armenia are the guarantors of the security of
Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said. “It is nobody’s secret that the army of
Nagorno-Karabakh cannot assure the defense of the territory on its

The Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces mustered some 2,000 men and a few
helicopters and artillery pieces for the week-long exercise.

“The threat of war exists as long as the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh
is not resolved,” said Armenian army chief of staff Mikael

The exercises followed a statement by President Ilham Aliyev of
Azerbaijan that his country would make no compromises with Armenia
over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

The statement appeared to mark a hardening of Azerbaijan’s stance
over the conflict.

“We cannot react positively to calls on us to make compromises. On
questions of our territorial integrity we will never make any
compromises,” Aliyev said last month.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress