YEREVAN (Sputnik) – Armenia disapproves of arms purchases by Azerbaijan from Russia and intends to maintain a “balance of forces” in the region, said Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.
“Of course we cannot like the fact that Azerbaijan buys weapons from our ally, which puts a lot of effort to preserve peace and stability in our region, including in cooperation with Armenia, as co-chair of the Minsk Group,” Nalbandian said.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev told Sputnik last month that Baku was in talks with Moscow on new arms purchases and was mostly interested in newest defense weaponry.
Nalbandian, commenting on what he classified as an “arms race” between the two countries, said “we have to make every effort to maintain a balance of forces in the region and prevent further escalation.”
A decades-old conflict between Baku and Yerevan over the Armenian-dominated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh escalated last April. The sides signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire that month, but mutual accusations of breaches have continued since then.
Arms imports by Azerbaijan were 20 times higher than those of Armenia between 2012 and 2016, a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has found.
According to SIPRI, the five biggest exporters—the United States, Russia, China, France and Germany—together accounted for 74% of the total volume of arms exports in the reporting period.
With a one-third share of global arms exports, the U.S. was the top arms exporter in 2012– 16. Its arms exports increased by 21 per cent compared with 2007–11. Almost half of its arms exports went to the Middle East.
Russia accounted for a 23 per cent share of global exports in the period between 2012 and 2016. 70 per cent of its arms exports went to four countries: India, Viet Nam, China and Algeria.
India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2012–16, accounting for 13% of the global total. Between 2007–11 and 2012–16 it increased its arms imports by 43%.
Between 2007–11 and 2012–16, arms imports by states in the Middle East rose by 86% and accounted for 29% of global imports in the last five years.
The volume of international transfers of major weapons has grown continuously since 2004 and increased by 8.4 per cent between 2007–11 and 2012–16, according to SIPRI. Notably, transfers of major weapons in 2012–16 reached their highest volume for any five-year period since the end of the cold war.
SIPRI data reflects the volume of deliveries of arms, not the financial value of the deals. As the volume of deliveries can fluctuate significantly year-on-year, SIPRI presents data for 5-year periods, giving a more stable measure of trends.