Russia eases Azerbaijani concerns over military hardware in Armenia

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MOSCOW, June 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has managed to ease Azerbaijan's concerns over the withdrawal of Russian military hardware from Georgia to Armenia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday.

While speaking to a news program on national television's Channel One, he said that Russia had explained to its "Azerbaijani friends" that the equipment and hardware would be located at a Russian military base. "So the change to the balance of forces in the region that some people are worrying about will not happen," he said.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told the same program: "We realize that arms will be transferred to the Russian base, and they will not be given to the Armenian Armed Forces."

Nevertheless, he said, Azerbaijan planned to increase military spending expenditures by $70 million by the end of the year so that no one could have any security fears.

Aliyev said he hoped that some of the new armaments would be bought in Russia.

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