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    Armenian soldiers of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh walking in trenches at the frontline on the border with Azerbaijan.

    Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Calls Armenian Drills in Karabakh Provocation

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    Burning Embers: Nagorno-Karabakh Tensions Heat Up (191)
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    Azerbaijan considers Armenian military exercises in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh to be a provocation, the ministry's press service said in a statement on Thursday.

    BAKU (Sputnik) — Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) chief that military exercises held by the Armenians in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh is a provocation, the ministry's press service said in a statement on Thursday.

    "At the meeting with the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that within the spirit of negotiations in Vienna and St. Petersburg the Azerbaijani side is ready for substantive negotiations that would be aimed at change of status quo [in the region]. The Azerbaijani foreign minister had also said that military exercises of the Armenian side in the occupied Agdam region in Nagorno-Karabakh are a serious provocation, designed to violate the negotiation process," the statement said.

    Armenia and Azerbaijan have been engaged in a dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988, when the autonomous region left the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic and proclaimed independence after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The secession triggered a war that lasted until a Russia-brokered ceasefire was signed in 1994.

    On April 2, violence erupted in the disputed region and led to multiple casualties. The parties to the conflict signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire on April 5, but mutual accusations have not stopped so far.

    On May 16, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev met in Vienna to discuss the conflict. The sides reiterated there could be no military solution to the conflict and reaffirmed their commitment to 1994 and 1995 peace agreements.

    On June 20, the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia met in St. Petersburg where they reaffirmed their commitment to achieve steady progress in political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and agreed to increase the number of OSCE monitors working in the conflict zone.

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    Burning Embers: Nagorno-Karabakh Tensions Heat Up (191)

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    provocations, drills, military exercises, OSCE, Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Armenia
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