Minister Says Bases Possible in Azerbaijan

MOSCOW (Xinhua)–Azerbaijan will consider having a Turkish–US or NATO military base established in the country in order to form a new balance of power in the region–Azeri Defense Minister Safar Abiyev said on Thursday.

In an interview with the Obschaya Gazeta newspaper–Abiyev said Azerbaijan wanted to "restore the military-strategic balance broken by Armenia," Interfax reported.

"All Russian military equipment supplied to Armenia will be used in Nagorno-Karabakh if Armenia resumes military actions against Azerbaijan," he said.

Russia has already indicated that arms supplies to Armenia were conducted in accordance with bilateral accords and were not intended for use against any third country.

Abiyev said international inspections are frequently conducted in both Armenia and Azerbaijan–but the inspectors "are not able to control Nagorno-Karabakh and the six Azeri districts occupied by Armenian armed formations."

The defense chief said Baku considered the North Atlantic Treaty Organization a highly reliable strategic ally.

During a recent visit to Turkey–he said he had "probed the possibility for forging an Azeri-Turkish military union–similar to the Russia-Armenian military treaty."

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