Boasting of his energy-rich country's vast increases in military spending, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev vowed Friday to use "all means" to restore control over Nagorno-Karabakh.
"We will strengthen our military power and use all means to pressure Armenia," said Aliev during a graduation ceremony at a military academy. "We will attack Armenia on all fronts -- economic, political, diplomatic and informational."
Armenian forces took control of Karabakh and seven other Azeri provinces during a war in the early 1990s that killed thousands and forced nearly a million people on both sides to flee their homes. A ceasefire was signed in 1994 but the dispute remains unresolved after more than a decade of negotiations and troops remain in a tense standoff.
Flush with revenues from oil exports, Azerbaijan has boosted defense spending by a factor of eight in the last four years to $1 billion this year, Aliev said. Azerbaijan would soon begin producing its own military hardware, he added without elaboration.
Aliev accused Armenia of blocking negotiations by refusing to budge on demands for Karabakh's independence. "Nagorno-Karabakh will never be independent and the sooner Armenia realizes this, the better," Aliev said.