Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov has said that Azerbaijani servicemen – from soldier to general – are ready to liberate the country’s Armenian-occupied territories.
The minister made the remarks in the Training and Education Center of the Armed Forces on September 16.
Addressing the meeting with deputy commanders of army corps, formations, and individual military units, Hasanov said that a high level of combat readiness and vigilance of military personnel must be maintained at the front. He also gave instructions to immediately and strongly suppress possible large-scale provocations of the Armenian armed forces in various directions in the frontline.
The minister also spoke about activities for combat training in the Army, providing and equipping units, as well as increasing combat capabilities. In addition, the minister analyzed the activities on combat training and moral- psychological support over the past period of the current year.
Azerbaijani authorities have recently voiced discontent over the failure of peace negotiations with Armenia. President Ilham Aliyev said in July that the work of the OSCE Minsk group mediating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has proven ineffective, reminding that the mediators have failed to respond to Armenia’s provocations. The president also described as “meaningless” the negotiations that have been dragging on for many years.
It should be noted that Armenia has recently stepped up its military provocation in the line of contact and on the border.
On July 12, Armenian forces shelled Azerbaijan’s positions in Tovuz, the country’s strategically-important district. The Armenian attack killed 12 Azerbaijani servicemen, including an army general, as well as a 76-year-old civilian. Armenian forces retreated after suffering losses in Azerbaijan’s retaliation.
Since 16 July, eight UAVs of the Armenian armed forces, attempting to carry out a reconnaissance flight over the positions of the Azerbaijani Army’s units, have been destroyed by the Azerbaijani Air Defense units.
On August 23 at around 6:00 am, Azerbaijan thwarted a provocation attempt by the sabotage-reconnaissance group of the Armenian armed forces in the direction of Goranboy region of Azerbaijan. As a result of measures taken by the Azerbaijani army, the commander of the sabotage-reconnaissance group of the Armenian Armed Forces, senior lieutenant Gurgen Alaverdyan was taken as prisoner.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.