Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev talked tough at a military parade in Baku on Tuesday, threatening military strikes against “strategic” Armenian targets and saying that Azerbaijan will "reinstate its control" over Nagorno-Karabakh.
"We are for the peaceful resolution of the [Nagorno-Karabakh] conflict but [Armenia] has to understand that there is no military or strategic object that the Azerbaijani Army is unable to destroy," Aliyev said.
"The war is not over. Only its first phase has ended," he said, calling Karabakh "primordially Azerbaijani territory."
Armenia was quick to condemn the threats. “War mongering and saber rattling are irrelevant, deplorable, if not preposterous,” Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian wrote on his Twitter page. “Inconsistency of language for internal consumption and at negotiations doesn’t work. Need a more responsible and sensible negotiating party across the table.”
Aliyev spoke at a major military parade marking what his government considers the 100th anniversary of Azerbaijan's armed forces. He stressed that Baku will continue to buy weapons abroad to strengthen its army.
Some 4,000 military personnel took part in the parade and 240 pieces of military equipment, including Belarusian-made Polonez and Israeli-made LORA missiles, were on display.
Senior military officials in Yerevan and Stepanakert say that the Azerbaijani military has deployed more troops along the “line of contact” around Karabakh since April. They have warned Baku against launching offensive operations there, saying that the Armenian side is prepared for any scenario.
There have been no high-level Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations since the recent dramatic change of Armenia’ government. U.S., Russian and French mediators indicated their intention to organize a meeting of Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s foreign ministers soon when they visited Yerevan two weeks ago.