BAKU — Azerbaijan has warned Armenia that it is prepared for “large-scale military operations” and says that comments by its neighbor’s new leadership about Nagorno-Karabakh region are “unacceptable.”
The warning was delivered by Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov at a meeting of Azerbaijani military officials on May 12, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The statement was issued three days after Armenia’s new prime minister, Nikol Pashinian, visited Nagorno-Karabakh.
In a speech to parliament before his election on May 8, Pashinian said that the “revolution” that swept him into power will lead to the “recognition of realizing the rights of Karabakh to self-determination.”
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry statement said Hasanov denounced “reckless statements made by various [Armenian] officials,” including Pashinian, “following the change of leadership in that country.”
“The defense minister warned Armenia’s military-political leadership that such actions of the opponent are unacceptable, and the Azerbaijani army is fully prepared for large-scale military operations,” the ministry said.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian called for Nagorno-Karabakh’s direct involvement in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks when he visited Stepanakert last week one day after being elected to Armenia’s top government post.
He met with Karabakh’s political and military leaders and attended official ceremonies to mark the 26th anniversary of a key Armenian military victory during the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan.