Aliyev Pledges to Double Azeri Military Budget in 2006

(AFP)–Azerbaijan will double military spending in 2006 to $600 million–President Ilham Aliyev said on Thursday. He also warned Armenia that Azerbaijan’s armed forces were capable of re-taking Mountainous Karabagh by force.

"The unconstructive position of Armenia makes it impossible to make progress with the talks. But–for the moment–we hope that a peaceful solution is possible," Aliyev said during a regional visit to Lenkaran–near the Iranian border.

"At the same time–we are reinforcing our military potential. And if defense spending in 2004 was 270 million dollars; in 2005–300 million; in 2006 it will equal 600 million dollars," he said. "The enemy must know that our army is always able to regain the territory by military force."

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