YEREVAN, September 7. /TASS/. The joint military exercises of Azerbaijan and Turkey held right on the border of Armenia undermine efforts to establish peace and security in the region, spokesperson for the Armenian Foreign Ministry Vahan Hunanyan told local media outlets on Tuesday.
"We view the Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises near the borders of Armenia and Artsakh (unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic - TASS) and near the Lachin Corridor as an action that endangers steps to achieve de-escalation which runs counter to the spirit of the trilateral statement signed on November 9, 2020, and undermines efforts to establish lasting peace, security and stability in the region," he said.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France, and the United States.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, 2020, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On November 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. Under the agreement, the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides stopped at the positions that they had held and Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the engagement line in Nagorno-Karabakh, and along the Lachinsky corridor that connects Armenia with the enclave, to monitor the ceasefire. Apart from that, a number of districts came over to Baku’s control.
The situation at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border has remained tense since May 12 when Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces had attempted to carry out "certain operations" in a border area in Syunik Province in a bid to "adjust the border." Since then, the sides have been reporting border incidents from time to time.