President Serzh Sarkisian visited the heavily militarized “line of contact” around Nagorno-Karabakh and inspected Armenian troops deployed along it on Friday during his latest trip to the Armenian-populated territory.
The Armenian presidential press office said Sarkisian began the “tour” of the frontline by watching, together with Karabakh’s top political and military leaders, a military exercise conducted by a Karabakh Armenian army regiment.
Photographs released by it showed that the drill involved tanks and other armored vehicles firing live rounds at a training center apparently located just east of Karabakh. Sarkisian handed awards to some of the participating soldiers.
A statement by office said Sarkisian, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and the Karabakh Armenian leaders also inaugurated unspecified “important military facilities” and monitored nearby sections of the frontline. There have been repeated upsurges in deadly fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces there this year.
Sarkisian inspected Armenian army units stationed along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan before travelling to Karabakh on Thursday.
The trips came amid efforts by the U.S., Russian and French mediators to arrange a fresh face-to-face meeting between Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham which they hope will revive the Karabakh peace process. The summit could take place as early as next month.