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Albania Vows To Stop Arms Sales To Armenia


Reuters
Albania assured Azerbaijan on Wednesday it will take every measure to stop the sale of weapons to countries in a state of conflict, after Turkey sent back a shipment of Albanian weapons bound for Armenia.

"The Albanian government will use its authority with the utmost seriousness to take all necessary measures to prevent the sales of weaponry to countries in a state of conflict," Albanian Foreign Minister Lulezim Basha said.

Basha made the pledge in a telephone conversation with his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov, a foreign ministry statement said.

Last week Turkey stopped and sent back to Albania's Durres port 60 containers with weapons destined for Armenia, which denied it had bought weapons from Albania.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a state of conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region located within Azerbaijan's internationally recognized borders. It broke away from Azeri control during a war in the 1990s and has proclaimed independence, though this has not been accepted internationally.

The head of Albania's state-owned weapons firm said he had sent the shipment because there was no embargo on arms sales to Armenia, press reports said.

Albania has been selling off its stock of Soviet-era weapons that were either imported from China or produced domestically, including an aging fleet of Mig airplanes.

Azerbaijan told Albania it considered the sale an act against Azerbaijan and asked the Islamic Conference Organization to intervene on its behalf with fellow member Albania.
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