BAKU (AP) - Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliev said Monday that his country must strengthen its military in order to gain leverage in its talks with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.
"Our success in the negotiation process will depend on how strong our army is," Aliev said at a dedication ceremony for a new army unit in near the country's border with Armenia.
He told the servicemen at the ceremony to be ready "to liberate land" from separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.
At the same time, Aliev said he would do everything possible to bring about a peaceful end to the conflict. He said he would soon hold talks with Armenian President Robert Kocharian.
Nagorno-Karabakh has been under control of ethnic Armenian separatists since 1994, the end of a war that killed some 30,000 people and forced about a million to flee their homes. Violence erupts around the enclave occasionally, and peace negotiations have stalled.