NATO Official Says Azerbaijan Has Exceeded Arms Quota

(Eurasianet.org)–Robert Simmons, who is NATO’s special representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia, told a press conference in Baku on March 16 that as a result of recent arms purchases, Azerbaijan has exceeded the quota for heavy weaponry it was allocated under the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE), day.az reported on March 17. Simmons said the issue will be referred to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna. APA on March 16 quoted Simmons as accusing Armenia too of exceeding its CFE arms quota, but Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Seyran Shahsuvarian denied any such violation and suggested Simmons may have been misquoted, according to armradio.com on March 17. Simmons also noted on March 16 that Azerbaijan has not yet formally announced any desire to join NATO, but will sign an Individual Partnership Action Plan following the successful completion of the current one, zerkalo.az reported. Simmons met in Baku on March 14, 15, and 16 with President Aliyev, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Emergency Situations Minister Kyamaleddin Haydarov, and Defense Minister Colonel General Safar Abiyev.

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